CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It’s an all-out battle for votes in the last two months before the election – and it’s happening across Twitter feeds, on the walls of Facebook and in Google chat rooms everywhere.
And on that social-media front, Mitt Romney’s campaign claims it’s catching up.
While President Obama and his supporters prepare for what Democrats are calling “the most open and accessible convention in history,” Romney’s team boasted Saturday that it is closing the digital gap between the campaigns and accused its rival of running a social media operation that’s just too – well, hyperactive.
The Democrats have long been the leaders in using social media to their advantage. According to a Pew Research Center study released Aug. 15, the 2012 presidential election is no different – with Obama far exceeding Romney in the number of Facebook followers and daily campaign tweets.
But more doesn’t mean better, according to Romney’s digital director, Zac Moffatt, who oversees all social media and online advertising for the campaign.
“The Pew is not an authority on how to use campaign social media,” Moffatt told FoxNews.com, noting that the results of the study were released three months ago, well before Romney announced his running mate and Republicans converged on Tampa for their party’s convention.
“They think that because you tweet more, you must be better at Twitter,” he said. “Barack Obama tweets 30 times a day – that’s not how we want to use Twitter.
“We wouldn’t want to do it 30 times a day because if everything’s a priority, nothing’s a priority,” he said.
The Romney team says it has made strides in engaging users across various online platforms – particularly on Facebook. Moffatt claims, for example, that “the average re-tweet for us is much higher than the Obama campaign per tweet.”
Moffatt said that of the 5.8 million Romney followers currently on Facebook, about 2.4 million are using the online social network to “post about” the candidate and his campaign. A report by “Inside Facebook,” an independent news service of Inside Network, says that the average number of “interactions” per day on Obama’s Facebook page is not much higher than on Romney’s.
The Pew research study, however, finds that the Obama campaign is still active on nearly twice as many digital tools and that the online content it produces generates more responses from users on average. Obama has 28 million “Likes” on Facebook versus Romney’s 5 million. On Twitter, Obama and his campaign have tweeted 5,685 times and enjoy 19,169,596 followers. Romney, in contrast, has tweeted 1,109 times and has 996,729 followers.
The Obama campaign recently showed how it uses social media to its advantage when it responded via Twitter to Clint Eastwood’s impromptu act before the Republican convention Thursday, during which the legendary actor addressed an empty chair meant to be an imaginary Obama.
“This seat’s taken,” the Obama campaign tweeted a day later – and included a photo of the commander-in-chief from behind, sitting in a chair at what appears to be a cabinet meeting.
Despite the Obama campaign’s social media success, Moffatt says the Romney team continues to enjoy a spike in followers across the Twitterverse – and pointed to Ann Romney as an early example of that success. The day after Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen said on television that Romney’s wife “never worked a day in her life,” Ann Romney set up a Twitter account and fired back.
"I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys," Romney tweeted. "Believe me, it was hard work."
Almost instantly, Moffatt said, Mrs. Romney attracted tens of thousands of followers to her Twitter account, which describes her as “Mom of five boys. Grandmother of 18. Out campaigning for @mittromney.”
“The Obama campaign has an advantage in that they’ve been doing this for six years and have invested a lot of money in it, but I think every single day we’re catching up, and in some ways we’ve overtaken them,” Moffatt said.