A hurricane can never have the right timing, but with less than a week until the U.S. presidential elections, candidates are being challenged.
Social networks are proving to be very effective in communicating emergencies, natural disasters or political revolutions and Hurricane Sandy has been no exception over the past few days. People across America have effectively become faster than traditional media by sharing photos, videos and other valuable information within seconds, documenting the situation in their area. The voice of “citizen journalism” has never been so loud – the Sandy hurricane has been mentioned over 1 145 000 times on Twitter as of today. It’s in fact so loud, that it can knock the mainstream news agenda off its route…
With less than a week left until the U.S. presidential elections, the Obama and Romney campaigns were hitting their peaks, trying to gain as many votes as possible. But did they put aside their banners to join the conversation dealing with hurricane Sandy on Facebook and Twitter?
Is Pinning Facebook Posts Enough?
Both parties have been pinning their Facebook posts to the top of their timelines with an orange ribbon as if to express how serious the situation is. But the content itself doesn’t show much effort or control over the natural disaster; the only actionable posts belong to Mitt Romney’s and Paul Ryan’s pages displaying young people helping with food supplies.
Both presidential candidates are asking Americans to support the Red Cross relief effort, only the accompanying visuals differ slightly. Barack Obama’s page has serious looking photos where he seems to be monitoring the situation and possibly negotiating further steps to minimize its impact on lives and property. Mitt Romney posted two identical photos promoting the Red Cross relief effort and the aforementioned photo capturing young people distributing food and water to those most affected by the hurricane.
What Are The Vice Presidents Doing on Facebook?
It gets even more interesting when you look at the Facebook pages of Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. The Vice President didn’t comment on the situation at all. In fact, he has updated his Cover photo on Sunday, but unfortunately it was just a photo of him buying a pumpkin for Halloween.
Republican Vice-President Nominee, Paul Ryan, has been doing a better job in raising Sandy awareness by asking for Red Cross support and posting a photo of citizens volunteering to help. Needless to say that this content strategy is more personal, although some could argue that it could be a desperate plea for more votes. What do you think?
Candidates Responding To Sandy On Twitter
Barack Obama tweeted about hurricane Sandy 7 times from Sunday and he was mentioned in 21 551 tweets including his name and Sandy at the same time (as opposed to 12 660 for Romney). These are some of his tweets:
“President Obama on Hurricane Sandy: “The great thing about America is that during tough times like this, we pull together.”
“If you live in Hurricane Sandy's path, get the information you need on how to prepare here: http://www.ready.gov/“
“Watch live: President Obama speaks about Hurricane Sandy.http://OFA.BO/cQYtdR„
Vice President Joe Biden didn’t tweet about the natural disaster at all, he just retweeted one of Obama’s tweets asking for Red Cross support.
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney tweeted twice about Sandy and he was mentioned in 12 660 tweets including Romney’s name and Sandy at the same time (as opposed to 21 551 for Obama).
“Our continued prayers are with those affected by #Sandy. Support the Red Cross: Text REDCROSS to 90999 or visit http://rdcrss.org/PSpvi2“
“Please support the #Sandy relief efforts by donating to the Red Cross. Text REDCROSS to 90999 or click here: http://rdcrss.org/PSpvi2“
Paul Ryan tweeted only once and retweeted another two tweets from Mitt Romney.
Do you think that the candidates tweeted enough when many people are looking for help on social networks?
The Twitter score (29. – 30.10.2012)
- Hurricane Sandy + Romney: mentioned 12 660 times
- Hurricane Sandy +Obama: mentioned 21 551 times
- NYC + Sandy: mentioned 15 634 times
- Hurricane Sandy: mentioned 430 249 times
- Hurricane: mentioned 1 145 138 times