Michelle Obama and Joe Biden’s Twitter Twist

Flotus and veep use social site like an email channel

First lady Michelle Obama and vice president Joe Biden have been using Twitter like a secondary email platform to get out the vote during this election cycle's last hours. The first lady has 2 million followers on Twitter, while Biden has 316,000, and the two political figures are direct messaging (DM) their audiences to re-elect President Barack Obama.

As is the case with any Twitter DM, the recipient must follow a political figure's account in order to get such messages. Although bloggers in recent days have essentially accused the Obama camp of Twitter spam, San Francisco-based Twitter says it's impossible to DM users unless they follow an account first.

Biden sent out the following message just after 7 p.m. ET last night: "Be the difference in this election today—help people find their polling place and know where to volunteer. Retweet." The message ended with a short-code link to an Obama-Biden page where viewers could enter their ZIP code in order to find their polling locations.

Adweek staffers collectively follow all the major players in today's presidential election on Twitter, including President Obama, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Mitt Romney, Ann Romney and Paul Ryan. From what we can see, only the first lady and Biden have recently used the direct-messaging tool.

Expect politicians to increasingly embrace the low-threshold messaging capabilities of Twitter in elections to come. For years, politicos and brands have had to lure viewers to their proprietary websites to get them to join email lists. Twitter appears to be making list-building easier to tackle as consumers flock to the micro-blogging site and follow government officials, celebrities, news personalities, brands and friends.

Meanwhile, advocates of Obama's reelection yesterday blanketed Twitter with Promoted Tweets, while the official campaign purchased the Promoted Trend unit. The Promoted Trend costs $120,000 per day and appears atop the Trends section on the left-hand side of Twitter's homepage. Obama-Biden repeated the expensive ad buy today with the hashtag #VoteObama. The ad's landing page tweet appears below.