In 2004 Howard Dean of the Democratic party was able to raise more money then any other candidate because of his online presence. While social media was still in its infancy during that time the reach of Facebook and Twitter proved even more useful four years later when a young black Presidential hopeful by the name of Barack Obama used social media outreach to create the most successful and profitable grassroots campaign of all time.
Yet despite those and other various successes on the behalf of Democrat fueled social campaigns it wasn’t until 2011 and now in 2012 that Republicans are finally understanding the power of a strong online social presence.
Among some of the Republican parties most successful campaigns in 2012 are the creation of interactive applications that allow for fundraising, the creation of immediate internet meme’s and a new form of “phone banking” that relies on social media outreach.
In what might be one of the most unique social features on the campaign this year is Newt Gingrich’s use of the NewtNetwork.com website in which they track the day’s top callers from the campaigns voter outreach calling program along with their avatar and the numbers of calls made. Essentially the campaigns biggest outreach supporters receive recognition for their hard work in real time.
In support of the popular Internet Meme culture Mitt Romney in the meantime has created the “Stand With Mitt” campaign which asks supporters to create “Stand With Mitt” signs and then add their name along and take pictures holding the sign at various events, following by a posting of those signs on their Facebook account.
In another show of political affiliation GOP candidates have created premade Facebook and Twitter profile pictures that allow supports to show their affiliate to followers.
While the Republican party is showing more gusto in the social media space analysts still expect President Obama to once against dominate the space in 2012, for example his campaign was the first to setup a much followed Tumblr offering that provides not such a few memes but infographics (still popular among internet users), tweets, photos from around the campaign and re-blogging options for followers.
In the social media space the first person to come up with the next big idea wins and for the Republican party those ideas are still a few days behind but growing stronger every single day.