This list of prospective major-party candidates for the 2016 Presidential race includes Barack Obama and Mitt Romney for comparative purposes. Some have already made public announcements of “exploratory” activity. Many have traveled to Iowa and New Hampshire, and committed lots of time to fundraising. Others are the subject of active speculation by journalists or energetic draft movements.
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Twitter Primary, mid-February 2015Volume = (Followers * Tweets) / 1,000,000.
Traction = Followers / Tweets.
Being willing and able to dominate the number of tweets heard in the world is certainly a distinctive status. It’s intriguing that Donald Trump’s success in that metric is so formidable. But winning on Twitter volume alone isn’t the way to win the presidency. And it’s certainly not a reason to deserve to win.
Horse-race analysis is highly esteemed in American political journalism, but it can also be a weapon of mass distraction. So it’s fair to ask how data like this, superficial as it may seem, advances AimsPoll’s overall mission… facilitating voter-friendly discussions of substantive priorities, specific plans, and guiding values. The answering is that it opens an investigation into which candidates are most serious about using Twitter to engage in public discussions of priorities, plans, and values.
Some key performance metrics of the Twitter Primary aren’t shown here… yet. These would include candidate’s own original tweets that are germane to the election… links to position papers, videos of speeches, responses to voter inquiries, and even direct calls to action. Once those sorts of messages can be measured, the next thing to track is how widely they are retweeted. That would give real insight into the influence of a candidate’s substantive political expressions.
Twitter isn’t the only venue available for that sort of messaging and engagement, but it’s an undeniably fertile one for it. That’s why AimsPoll is so interested in covering the Twitter Primary, and helping candidates get better traction in it.
Right now, unfortunately, establishing leadership in substantive engagement is practically a moot point. At this stage of the game, the playing out of the Money Primary — and what Lawrence Lessig calls Tweedism — counts for much much more.