This is the third of four parts of a larger article I wrote for the Campaigns & Elections special edition on the CampaignTech conference, which is shipping with the current issue of the magazine. This piece appeared earlier in the C&E blog, and see also Part One, Retail vs. Wholesale Online Politics, and Part Two, Data-Driven Politics and an Advertising Explosion.
Campaign Twitter Duels
Campaigns are turning to Twitter this year to ding their opponents directly. We saw some signs of this trend earlier in the cycle as Republican presidential candidates jockeyed for position. Now that Mitt Romney’s the nominee-to-be, his campaign and President Obama’s team regularly trade shots via Tweet.
David Axelrod and Romney campaign manager Eric Fehrnstrom have emerged as their respective campaigns’ primary duelists, but even Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, took to Twitter to respond to the recent “Ann Romney never worked a day in her life” kerfluffle with Hilary Rosen.
The audience for these exchanges is once again those journalists, bloggers and activists who dominate the political twitterverse. The tweets themselves serve as fodder for news pieces and blog posts. Of course, campaigns have sniped at each other for years via press releases, public statements and TV ads, but Twitter speeds up the process dramatically. It also personalizes it. We’re talking about Axelrod tweeting, for instance, not the Obama campaign in the abstract.