The Big, Game Changing Difference With The 2012 Political Conventions: Social Media

By Alex Weprin 

On the surface, the 2012 Republican and Democratic national conventions look pretty typical. The amount of coverage from media outlets is on par with recent years, even if everything will also be streamed online. As the AP’s David Bauder notes however, this year’s conventions are in fact a gamechanger.

“Social media adds a new layer to this gigantic nonevent,” said Jeff Jarvis, a media critic who writes the Buzzmachine.com blog. “It’s becoming fascinating. We could all be there. We don’t all want to be there but we can talk about it, and that can be more newsworthy than the actual event.”

The challenge for networks comes in harnessing social media for effective use in their coverage.

“I can’t say anybody has found the secret sauce yet but there’s a lot of great experimenting going on,” said Mark Lukasiewicz, producer in charge of NBC’s convention coverage. “One of the fantastic things about this is you do get real-time feedback about what you do on the air.”

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