First Lady Scores Big Social Media Win

Despite some challenging weather and middling TV ratings, last week’s Republican National Convention was deemed a success based on an overwhelming outpouring of social media activity: More than four million tweets made their way onto the World Wide Web during the three days of the convention.

Yet the Democratic National Convention came close to beating that number on its first day alone. While many pundits have spent the last 24 hours analyzing the speech made by San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro (whose Twitter followership more than tripled in less than a day), the big traffic driver was First Lady Michelle Obama’s “mom-in-chief” speech.

This week will be filled with discussions of how well the speech went over with the American public and the always-active pundit class, but we can officially say that she dwarfed every other speaker of the season in terms of social media influence.

Twitter found her PR win significant enough to blog about it, noting that Mrs. Obama’s speech inspired a whopping 28,003 tweets per second during her 25-minute run time (we’re not sure how to quantify that, but it does sound impressive, and it was nearly double the number achieved during Governor Romney’s acceptance speech last week). Some even tweeted speculations about the First Lady’s future political ambitions, though Presidential historian Jodi Kantor announced via Twitter that she would “eat [her] entire book” if Mrs. Obama ever runs for office.

These numbers serve to re-emphasize a social media gap that may or may not exist between the country’s two major parties: Democrats are generally more active on social media platforms than Republicans or Independents (those guys again?), and they also place greater weight on the power of social media tools to shape the future of American politics, but Republicans appear to have made up a great of the distance by emphasizing engagement over quantity of followers–a very wise strategy indeed.

No matter what observers thought of the First Lady’s speech last night or how they feel about the ways in which the two parties use networking tools, the message to everyone in politics is clear: More social media. No delays and no excuses.