Social Platform Used by GOP and Obama White House Launches Product Set

The Republican Party broke new social media ground at it National Convention in Tampa, Florida last month by blanketing its convention hall in real-time tweets. Now, Mass Relevance, the firm that facilitated that Twitter initiative is making custom platforms developed for the RNC, Pepsi and other brands available as a set of templated products.

As an official Twitter partner, Mass Relevance has access to Twitter’s data-laden firehose. The firm filters posts and images from Twitter and helps brands and organizations surface that information and content in meaningful ways. For the RNC’s Convention Without Walls, for example, Mass Relevance categorized millions of tweets prompted by the event’s speakers and other messaging, organizing them according to pre-planned criteria as well as reactionary filters that were determined as the event took place.


The end result was a stream of select tweets that were displayed on the convention website as well as on large physical backdrops behind the stage (seen in photo here) and digital “ribbons” surrounding the convention forum. The goal was to have Twitter content that reflected issues being discussed on stage - the economy for instance - presented as speakers talked about them.

"The challenge is how do you take four million tweets and put structure to it," said Zac Moffatt, digital director for Mitt Romney’s campaign, which was closely involved in the convention. Mass Relevance helped the RNC take "a tweet occurring thousands of miles away and in a few minutes have it appear on a stage," he said. "[Mass Relevance] embedded staff with us for the week," during the August convention, added Moffatt… Read the complete and original post at

How Facebook Propelled U.S. Senate Candidate Ted Cruz To Primary Win

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Facebook and social media played a pivotal role in the outcomes of several U.S. Senate primaries this summer. A new case study broke down just how the social network propelled one tea party candidate in Texas from a virtual unknown to a political insider.

The politico’s handbook, Campaigns & Elections, features a profile of Senate candidate Ted Cruz’s recipe for primary success by his digital strategist, Vincent Harris. Cruz was a featured speaker at last month’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.

One of the takeaways is the boost that social media can give unknown candidates who lack the resources to launch radio and television advertising.

For example, Cruz spent money on Google search ads, as well as advertising on Bing and Yahoo, which yielded a 10-to-1 return on investment.

Here’s a look at how Cruz’s Facebook strategy played out:

  • Facebook ads supplemented Cruz’s organic support on Facebook, as well as Twitter.
  • On the day of the election, the digital team ran a get out the vote (GOTV in campaign parlance) promoted post to fans and fans of their endorsements, which generated 793,432 impressions, 1,136 clicks, 1,880 likes, and 1,098 shares. This way, if the content wasn’t organically showing up on voters’ news feeds, it made our way onto their screens with ads reminding them to go vote.
  • The Cruz Facebook page was updated 11 times that day, with a total of 2,646 shares and 14,253 likes on its posts. The David Dewhurst campaign updated its Facebook page just once, yielding 49 shares and 392 likes.
  • Harris said tools to promote the campaign were shared with voters, such as a Facebook timeline cover image and profile pictures that touted its #ChooseCruz hashtag.

Harris added:

There’s no doubt where people are spending their time online: Facebook.

How to follow the 2012 Republican National Convention on Facebook, Twitter, Google+

Palm trees blow in the wind in front of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, ahead of the Republican National Convention, Aug. 26, 2012 in Tampa, Fla.

(Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The 2012 Republican National Convention opens Monday in Tampa, Fla. All of the traditional media outlets will be on the ground covering the event, but this election year the political parties are also ramping up their social media presence.

Campaign 2012 on

The RNC is creating several opportunities for supporters to engage on social networks. An official Facebook app called “Convention Without Walls” lets users tell their stories by submitting photos and videos, which can be submitted via YouTube. A Tampa 2012 mobile app has been launched for iPhones and Android devices. The app lets users view the convention schedule (with events now delayed until Tuesday after Tropical Storm Isaac’s threat), explore Tampa, and keep up with tweets from prominent Republicans.

For the first time ever, the RNC will live stream the entire convention on its YouTube channel. In April, the RNC named Google and YouTube as the “Official Social Platform and Live Stream Provider.”

"Google and YouTube are transforming the political process, providing voters an unprecedented degree of participation and, for the very first time, giving every American who has access to a computer, tablet, video gaming system, interactive television, or video-enabled smart-phone an exclusive backstage pass to the podium of a national political convention," said convention CEO William Harris in a press release.

Social media has grown immensely since the 2008 elections. Aside from the obvious Facebook, Twitter and YouTube profiles, the RNC also has official Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and Foursquare accounts - services that weren’t around during the last election cycle. Instagram users can view convention photos using the “Convention Without Walls” Facebook app or by searching GOPconvention on the mobile app.

Supporters can follow Republican presumptive nominee Mitt Romney and his choice for vice president, Paul Ryan, on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Additionally, Spotify users can subscribe to the Romney Ryan 2012 campaign’s playlists, as well.

Social media companies are working hard to cater to politicians, supporters and the media. Twitter has set up a political index that profiles the candidates’ number of followers, tweets and changes in daily activity. Facebook has an official hub for U.S. politics that highlights politicians and political campaigns.

CBS News will join The National Journal and The Atlantic for daily briefings at both conventions. Briefings start on Aug. 27 at 9:30 a.m. ET and will be streamed live at

Here’s the full list of social media links for the 2012 Republican National Convention and Romney Ryan 2012 campaign.

Republican National Convention social media profiles

Official website:

Official Facebook page

Official Google+ page

Official YouTube page

Official Pinterest page

Republican National Convention on Foursquare

GOPconvention on Instagram via Facebook

@GOPconvention on Twitter

Convention hashtag: #GOP2012

Republican National Convention mobile apps

Tampa 2012 iOS app on iTunes

Tampa 2012 Android app at Google Play

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Russia Builds Up Online Diplomacy

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Russia has moved to increase its influence in the international arena by encouraging its diplomats to use social media, the Kommersant daily reported on Monday.

The Russian Foreign Ministry is planning to open a Facebook page in the near future and has already launched special courses to teach diplomats how to make the most of their Twitter accounts to help promote Russia’s position on the world stage, the report said.

“To achieve this, special instructions have been sent to all [Russian] embassies,” the paper said.

The ministry is also planning to redesign its official webpage by the end of the year, it said.

Last week, the ministry launched a YouTube account (midrftube) where internet users can watch videos of speeches by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other senior Russian diplomats, as well as other video materials related to Russia’s foreign policy and international relations.

During a closed-door meeting with Russian ambassadors last week, President Vladimir Putin urged diplomats to actively use new technologies to improve Russia’s image and defend its interests, Kommersant said, quoting an official who attended the meeting.

Chinese deals site Lashou cancels US IPO plan in wake of Facebook issues and Groupon stock drop

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Lashou, one of China top group buying sites, has cancelled plans to go public in the US, according to a report from Reuters.

The company first got cold feet on the move in November when it cited “corporate developments” as the reason it was postponing its initial public offering, which was estimated at $100 million. Now, however, it has backed away frm the plans altogether admist an uncertain climate following issues around the Facebook IPO and the continued decline of Groupon’s stock price.

The general atmosphere around the daily deals business has been clouded by Groupon’s poor stock market performance. The issues continued when the flagship firm recently came out of its ‘lockup period’ — allowing insiders to sell their stock — and it promptly saw its valuation drop 9 percent that very day.

Although a number of top Internet firms from China are listed Stateside – including Baidu, Renren, Youku and Tencent — a recent trend has seen most of the stock tank.

China-watcher Bill Bishop noted last year that China’s tech firms have struggled and seen valuations and stock prices drop significantly.

The tremors of Facebook’s IPO have been felt elsewhere in the world and Russian social network VKontakte — often referred to as the country’s Facebook — put its plans to IPO on hold “indefinitely” last month.

California Assembly Passes Bill To Protect Facebook Users’ Passwords []

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The fight to protect Facebook users’ passwords and other private information is taking place on both the national and state level, as the Assembly in California passed a bill Thursday that would deny employers from accessing anything designated as private by users of Facebook and other social networks.

The Los Angeles Timesreported that Assembly Bill 1844, sponsored by Assemblywoman Nora Campos (D-San Jose), passed without a dissenting vote, and its next stop is the state Senate.

Under terms of the bill, employers would still be able to access publicly available information on social networks, according to the Times.

Campos told the newspaper:

As our culture changes around social media, our laws need to reflect those changes, and we must make sure we protect employees’ privacy.

State Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), sponsor of a similar bill, told the Times:

We feel very strongly about this issue. What’s private and personal should remain private and personal. Nobody should have to give up any of that information to get a job or to get admitted to a university.

Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan issued a strongly worded statement in March, urging users of the social network to never surrender their passwords.

Readers: Would you like to see similar legislation pushed forward in your state?

Have you had that Facebook talk with your child?

About a couple of years ago, when my daughter was about 10, her school hastily summoned parents for a conversation about Facebook. The school pointed out that Facebook had a minimum age requirement of 13, but many students were using it as early as 9. Some were using it to post rude remarks about teachers, others to post rude remarks about each other. Understandably, the school wanted parents to pull their children off Facebook.

Parents were bewildered. Half of them didn’t even know their kids were on Facebook, the others didn’t see the problem. After all wasn’t Facebook just a fun, innocent pursuit? So clueless were some of the parents that when I got home, I had a Facebook request from one of the 10-year-olds at the meeting. I refused.

Now, of course, most of us know better. Facebook is rapidly becoming a safe haven for cyber bullies. Paedophiles are now using it as an easy way to lure young girls. Closer home, it’s being used by blackmailers who threaten to post morphed pictures. Seven and a half million users are now below the minimum age, and Mark Zuckerberg now apparently wants to lift the minimum age, since it isn’t working anyway — ostensibly for the purpose of “education”, or maybe just to sell us more products. I personally know several 8 and 10-year-olds that have set up accounts, without their parents knowing.

The problem with dangerously addictive social networks is that they encourage you to share stuff you would never do in real life. The problem with kids is that they often have no sense of what’s appropriate to share and what isn’t. Combine these two and you have an alarming combination, as a North Carolina father recently found out… Read the complete and original post at

Hashtag Activism, and Its Limits

If you “like” something, does that mean you care about it?

It’s an important distinction in an age when you can accumulate social currency on Facebook or Twitter just by hitting the “like” or “favorite” button.

The ongoing referendum on the Web often seems more like a kind of collective digital graffiti than a measure of engagement: I saw this thing, it spoke to me for at least one second, and here is my mark to prove it.

But it gets more complicated when the subjects are more complicated. Hitting the favorite button on the first episode of “Mad Men” is a remarkably different gesture than expressing digital solidarity with kidnapped children in Africa, but it all sort of looks the same at the keyboard.

In the friction-free atmosphere of the Internet, it costs nothing more than a flick of the mouse to register concern about the casualties of far-flung conflicts. Certainly some people are taking up the causes that come out of the Web’s fire hose, but others are most likely doing no more than burnishing their digital avatars.

In February, the digiterati went bonkers after the Susan G. Komen foundation (shorthanded as #Komen on Twitter) announced it was cutting off financing for Planned Parenthood. And then #KONY2012 started popping up in my Twitter feed and I, along with 100 million others, watched a video about the indicted Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony.

After weeks of remaining under the radar, #TrayvonMartin began to surface as well, with many suggesting that the people who got so frantic about the victimization of young black males on another continent needed to look closer to home, at the death of an unarmed black teenager in Florida.

As a reporter, I don’t sign up for various causes, but as someone who lives — far too much — in the world of social media, I can feel the pull of digital activism. And I have to admit I’m starting to experience a kind of “favoriting” fatigue — meaning that the digital causes of the day or week are all starting to blend together. Another week, another hashtag, and with it, a question about what is actually being accomplished… You can find the complete and original post at                

Welcome to Facebook Timeline, President Obama

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Facebook Timeline just got the presidential seal of approval: Barack Obama enabled the new profile design Thursday morning.

Visitors to Obama’s Timeline are greeted with a smiling photo of the president alongside his cover photo, a graph often shared by Obama supporters that highlights the president’s job creation record. Putting that chart in such a prominent position makes sense, given Obama’s apparent strategy of running for re-election on an “America is back” platform of optimism about the country’s economic recovery.

The president’s widgets include galleries of photographs and video content alongside links to donate to his re-election campaign or to buy Obama-themed swag. Scrolling down through Obama’s Timeline reveals photos of supporters at campaign events, more charts and graphs and video of the president himself.

Clearly, Obama’s digital team got the most out of Facebook Timeline’s graphics-friendly format.

A historical dive through Obama’s presidency on his Timeline reveals major administration accomplishments — repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, signing the Affordable Care Act, leaving Iraq, and so on. His Timeline also shows milestones in his personal life, such as the birth of his daughters…

The Army’s Social Media Industrial Complex

Considering the heavy female demographic happening on Pinterest, we were surprised to find the U.S. Army had a well-stocked profile, until we checked out the rest of their online goings-on. The Army is all up on the Internet. And, in a very active way — it doesn’t just have social media profiles to have its hand in the future. It has robust profiles on various sites, ranging from the big social media players like Twitter to newbs like Pinterest, each appropriately using the platform as a PR tool. It’s really quite impressive for such an established, bureaucratic organization that one would assume would stink at the Web.

All of the Army’s many social media profiles are well run. And it has many. It’s on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Google+, Vimeo, Slideshare and now Pinterest. There is also an Army Live blog. (Not to be confused with an Army liveblog.) Each profile posts different content, each appropriate for the venue. Twitter and Facebook, for example, are news heavy. Flickr and Google+ are photo driven. YouTube and Vimeo post videos, of course. And, Pinterest has pretty and cute patriotic and Army-themed things, like this entire pinboard of desserts and pastries. For the Army wife demographic, possibly?

We’ve reached out to the Army’s Public affairs office to get more insight into their social media strategy and how it works. But for now, we’ll just say that we’re impressed with what they pull off… Read the complete and original post at