“A Platform Is a Terrible Thing To Waste”

Some may remember during the early days of the Christie administration there was chatter about the fact that the governor had hired at $60,000 someone to handle his Twitter account. Well it turns out according to a study of U. S. Senators that Republicans have sharper social media skills than Democrats. The Digital IQ Index: U.S. Senators study was authored by George Washington University School of Business Dean Doug Guthrie, and NYU Stern Associate Professor of Marketing Scott Galloway.  The study examined senators’ online competence including his or her presence on websites, social media following and sentiment, digital marketing aptitude and search engine optimization skills.

Although it is can be difficult to know the exact cause and effect, the study points out, for example, than in Massachusetts Scott Brown garnered 10 times the number of Facebook interactions and YouTube views than did Democratic candidate Martha Coakley. Further studies will compare more closely digital I.Q with election predictability and results, but this study underscores the importance that digital media has today for politicians.

There are messages here for our Democratic Representatives currently waging their election campaigns. Certainly some, as has been discussed on Blue Jersey, seem digitally savvier than others. As the authors say, “A platform is a terrible thing to waste.”  

The study reveals that “Republican senators are savvier online and are acquiring Facebook “likes” and Twitter “followers” at a greater rate than Democratic senators. The study also demonstrates that “senators up for re-election lead on every social media platform, highlighting the push (need for votes) and pull (increased recognition and awareness) effect of campaigns.”  

In the study New Jersey Senator Menendez ranked 19 (Gifted) and Lautenberg 57 (Average) out of the 100 Senators. Senator John McCain, who during the 2008 election said “I don’t e-mail,” ranked 1 (Genius). Let’s remember that McCain can be passionate and outspoken, but, as with Governor Christie, he and others can hire a Twitter Chief.  And media does matter.

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