Are you friends with the president of the United States? Do you Like him? Do you follow him? Maybe you're just a fan.
The 2012 election won't just name the 45th leader of the free nation; it will conclude some hotly debated issues. No, we're not talking the 47% versus the 99%, nor the debt crisis or the Iraq war. Instead, this election cycle seems to have raised the competitive bar, at least in terms of digital savvy: Did President Barack Obama or his opposer Mitt Romney better master the fine art of social media politics?
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With one month until Election Day, it's still hard to determine which candidate gathering more Facebook and Twitter votes. So we're turning to the experts. Data analysis company SocialBakers analyzed Obama and Romney's social media habits from May 1 to Sept. 19, 2012 to find the man with the stronger social campaign.
The company concluded that each candidate holds his own in different realms -- Obama is a much more frequent tweeter (averaging 14.4 tweets per day to Romney's 1.7 per day). Yet Romney is a habitual Facebook user, posting 422 times from May to September. During that same time, Obama only created 179 Facebook posts.
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SocialBakers also found that, though Obama enjoys higher engagement, Romney's tweets tend to go viral more often. Socialbakers CEO Jan Rezab attributes this to the consistency in which Obama tweets. Since Obama posts to Twitter often, his followers are less likely to continue retweeting and sharing out his content. Since Romney tweets once or twice per day, his followers are more eager to pick up that content and re-share to their own networks.
The opposite holds true for both candidates on Facebook.
Additionally, on Facebook, Romney's fan base has grown by 76% since May 1. Obama's base has only grown by 8.83% over the same period.
The national conventions in mid-August revved each candidate's social media following. The final days of their respective party conventions represented the largest follower growth for both candidates. Obama's Twitter hit its peak the day First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at the Democratic National Convention, Rezab tells Mashable. Romney saw a peak of Twitter followers on Aug. 11, the day he officially announced himself as the GOP's candidate for presidency.
Romney reached a high of Twitter mentions -- 927,025 times -- on Sept. 17, but Socialbakers says the sentiment of those mentions were heavily negative, as they related to the recent 47% comment Romney made on camera.
Obama's most tweeted and Facebooked word over the time period was "president," and he almost never mentions Romney's name. Surprisingly, Romney's most tweeted word was @BarackObama, the president's Twitter handle, which he used to criticize and critique his opponent's platform. The phrase Romney mentions most on his Facebook is also "President Obama."
But in the end, Rezab says it might not be an equal footed-fight between Obama and Romney's social media strategies. President Obama has had an extra four years to build up a network following and, thus, has more time to spare gaining election momentum, Rezab says, whereas Romney has had to engage the social media machine in a much shorter time period to achieve the comparable success.
Which candidate has used social media better in the election process? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
This story originally published on Mashable here.