Are we thinking about viral campaigns back-to-front?
At Bucks08, Toby Moores made the point, as did others, that social media amplifies what is already there.
Perhaps another important point is that social media allows us to measure what is already there.
Here is a report on the US Presidential candidates. What is noticeable is that our use of social media changes after a significant event.
Widget-capture goes up when a candidate has just won a major primary, and falls when they have consolidated their position – meaning, I think, that social media is not a result, but an action we take to make something happen. We are a sensible lot, so if McCain has won, there is no need to capture widgets! If we want to push our candidate on and they are winning, we join in.
Also note that 80-90% of Obama’s widgets are not captured from official sites. Hence my deduction that social media acts as a trace that allows us to understand our community better.
The value to someone investing in social media is increased clarity, rather than increased sales. They still need to get out there and do their thing – write good policy, give good speeches, recover from errors, build alliances, court super-delegates etc.
And if this theory is correct
Widget-capture should fall, when one of the Democratic candidates concedes, and widget-capture should fall for both of them unless at that point the competition with McCain hots up.
Just so I don’t lose it: after I posted this I commented on an HR blog on the Ron Paul effect – whatever that is!
“I think the return is like any group conversation. You have to be in it to influence it and you have to be willing to be influenced in turn. People trying to ‘use it’, ‘lose it’ at this juncture.
I don’t think the web is an echo chamber as much as a “broken telephone”. News goes out, it is picked up days later, it is repeated without checking, etc. etc. The onus is on the individual to verify information. The danger is in treating it like an authoritative source – we become the journalist – we have to check and double check.
So what do we get? We observe what people are willing to repeat?? That in itself is instructive and tells us a lot about a source. So we can tell three things a) competence b) popularity/fashion and c) network.”