Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Contrasting Social Media Counterprogramming Strategies for the Democrat Debate

The Democrats held their first Primary "Debate" (more of a candidate forum) at a Las Vegas casino. Most political pundits expected a snoozefest which lays a foundation to a Primary Coronation.

So that Republicans did not totally cede the news cycle to a progressive politics lovefest, a couple of Republican aspirants to the Oval Office took to Twitter to counter-program by chiming in on the process. It was a cheap way to gain attention and get the message out, going over the heads of the established media through the new media.

Donald Trump made headlines with his announcement that he would live tweet the event.  Former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR) also wanted to get in on the action.  The latter leader's sharing seems to epitomize his campaign thus far--  cornpone slung just to win attention.

Take some of the @GovMikeHuckabee tweets--

They seemed like stale standbys to get some yucks. But unlike Huckabee's two debate performances when he dished out canned ham, it seems that the self nicknamed "Duck Hunter" did actually seem to watch the Democrat Debate.

That being said, Huckabee tried to be funny rather than to score points with his big campaign themes. 

In contrast, Donald Trump tried to steal the spotlight by starting with his star-appeal schtick thru @realDonaldTrump tweets--

Trump used social media to leverage his message by retweeting others who echoed or enhanced his memes and campaign messaging, whereas Huckabee basically used Twitter as a platform to share his pre-scripted one liners.

However, it looked like Donald Trump was genuinely reacting to the debate.  His social media responses reinforced his campaign messages on immigration, Washington is broken, helping Veterans and Hillary's hypocrisy.

One indication that Trump was not totally rehearsed in his responses is a short missive "Good move by Bernie S." that has no reference point, hash tags or even Twitter handles.  Presumably, this was when Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT) said: "Enough with the emails already!".

On the one hand, Trump generated excitement with his social media participation in the Democrat Debates with authenticity, branding and passively marketing his message. On the other hand, Huckabee served up more cornpone which were groaners to political pundits but did little to advance his own message via social media.

With the revised qualifications for the CNBC debate, this might be one of the last servings of cornpone and canned ham from the Huckster.

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