Debate Moderators Largely Bypass Social Media In Preparing Questions

Courtesy of the Huffington Post

Jim Lehrer will likely kick off Wednesday night’s presidential debate, the 12th he’s moderated since 1988, in a familiar manner: “Good evening from the Magness Arena at the University of Denver.” In Lehrer’s debate memoir, “Tension City,” the PBS veteran describes how the moderator’s opening, complete with “good evening,” hasn’t changed since the first televised debate in 1960.

There have been a few innovations since then, such as adding a town hall-style debate to the mix and opting for a sole moderator instead of a panel of journalists. But the significant changes in news production, consumption and engagement since Nixon and Kennedy squared off 52 two years ago haven’t shaken up the debate format, and the Committee on Presidential Debates’ selection of moderators has drawn scrutiny for not reflecting today’s more diverse media industry.

And in this year’s “Twitter Election” — where reporters have covered every campaign trail event (and non-event) in real-time and the increased velocity of the news cycle renders journalistic rituals like the post-debate “spin room” largely irrelevant — social media hasn’t appeared to be a factor in debate preparation.

NYU professor Jay Rosen, who was critical of the 839 questions asked during the spring Republican primary debates, recently asked on Twitter if “any of the debate moderators [have] been engaging with voters online to crowd source us some really good questions.”

The answer, for the most part, is no.

Lehrer has not used social media to crowd source questions before Wednesday’s debate, but during a recent radio appearance he said he would welcome suggestions, according to a PBS spokeswoman. The spokeswoman added that the network “collected many questions, emails, calls, petitions, etc., separated them by topic and delivered them to Mr. Lehrer on a somewhat rolling basis.”

Read more here.


SIDE BY SIDE: How Obama And Romney’s Social Media Battle Stacks Up

Courtesy of Business Insider

President Barack Obama and hopeful Mitt Romney are battling in a new, sophisticated medium that their predecessors never had to consider: They are fighting to dominate social media.

First seen in the 2008 election, both candidates are now leveraging Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram to attract the millennial vote and create a groundswell of excitement around their campaigns.

We took a side-by-side look at how the candidates stack up when it comes to their social media presence — both based on numbers and content.

Who’s behind the campaigns? 

President Obama brought back Teddy Goff, 27, as his Digital Director. Located in Chicago, Goff handled the President’s 2008 successful social media efforts. Prior to his post with Obama, he was the Associate Vice President for Strategy at Blue State Digital in New York City. Although Obama’s campaign builds on its already existing platform and followers, it has gotten to the next level. It blends creative messaging, frequent contests, and compelling images to interact with its audience.

Romney hired Zac Moffatt, 33, to run his social media efforts out of Boston. While the entire campaign focuses on building a presidential brand out of Romney, Moffatt is also responsible for building a social media infrastructure for the Republican candidate from the ground up.

Read more here.

20 TV Shows With the Most Social Media Buzz This Week

Courtesy of

The season premiere of The X Factor marked the debut of new judges Britney Spears and Demi Lovato. Spears and Lovato joined holdovers Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid in the competition’s second season. The premiere garnered 1.4 million comments from viewers on Twitter and Facebook, making it the most talked about premiere for a series ever — the audience was encouraged to tweet at their favorite judges, and moving auditions inspired viewer comments.

This weekend also saw the premiere of the 38th season of Saturday Night Live, with host Seth MacFarlane and musical guest Frank Ocean. The premiere featured a spoof of the popular music video “Gangnam Style,” so perhaps that’s the reason for the buzz, which Trendrr’s sentiment analysis indicated was 55% positive.

The data is courtesy of Trendrr, which measures social media activity related to specific television shows (e.g. mentions, likes, check-ins) across Twitter, Facebook, GetGlue and Viggle. To see daily rankings, check out Trendrr.TV.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, subjug

NPR to Launch Initiative on Race, Ethnicity and Culture with $1.5 Million Grant from Corporation for Public Broadcasting


Today at the UNITY 2012 Convention, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) announced it will award NPR a $1.5 million grant to launch a major journalism initiative to deepen coverage of race, ethnicity and culture, and to capture the issues that define an increasingly diverse America. With this expansive effort, NPR will produce compelling stories and present new voices and conversations online and on-air, staffed by a six-person team.

“This new team and defined area of coverage will empower NPR to cover news and issues across the U.S. more fully, delivering on our promise for NPR to look and sound like America,” said Gary E. Knell, president and CEO of NPR. “CPB’s forward-thinking commitment to diversity challenges public media to do more, and to do better, and we accept that challenge wholeheartedly.”

Once assembled, this team of six journalists will deliver a steady flow of distinctive coverage on every platform. Reporting will magnify the range of existing efforts across NPR to cover and discuss race, ethnicity and culture. NPR will also create a new, branded space within The first platform is expected to launch this fall.

Read more here.

Poll: Social media’s modest impact in US Politics

Courtesy of Politico

Social networking sites are not particularly influential in shaping political views, according to a new study Tuesday by the Pew Internet and American Life project.

Only 36 percent of SNS users say that the sites are “very important” or “somewhat important” to keeping up with political news, and only 25 percent felt the same about SNS being a place for debating political issues, the Pew survey found.

Democrats used SNS more than Republicans as a way to follow political news, debate issues and finding other people who share their views on political topics.

Did You Block Your Grandma On Facebook For Bashing Obama? You’re Not Alone

Courtesy of

Facebook is increasingly becoming a utility that everyone uses, like water or electricity. Indeed, there are even those who think we ought to nationalize it.

But when it comes to politics, everyone isn’t using it equally. It turns out people who identify as Democrats or liberals are substantially more likely to say they consider Facebook — and other social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn — an important resource for keeping up with political news and promoting their pet causes. They’re also more likely to say they changed their mind about something or increased their political activities as a result of social networking, according to a new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Read more here.

The Gardian: How many Twitter followers do they really have?

Courtesy of The Gardian:

UK firm develops software to unmask fake Twitter accounts

Louise Mensch

Lady Gaga has almost 30 million, Wayne Rooney nearly five million and David Cameron a more-than-respectable two million plus. But how many of their Twitter followers actually exist?

A British start-up company has pledged to root out and expose the phantom, fake and fraudulent followers being used to massage the numbers claimed by celebrities, politicians and the merely insecure within the Twittersphere.

It used to be that the number of an individual’s Facebook friends was a measure of value in the social media era, but that source of prestige has been supplanted by the Twitter index. The number of followers of an individual Twitter account is seen as a measure of influence that can be translated into financial value by advertisers and marketing companies. Before the Olympics began, many British athletes were encouraged to tweet about products such as cars they had received from sponsors.

The company, Status People, has now devised a software tool that divides followers into the fake, the inactive and the good. Company executive Rob Waller said it had been decided to create the “fake follower” tool after reports that former Tory MP Louise Mensch had 40,000 fake followers. The fake follower tool aims to expose the true extent of the problem of phantom Twitter followers.

Read more here.

Forbes: Celebrities With The Most (Allegedly) Fake Twitter Followers

Courtesy of John Greathouse, Forbes Contributor

I was shocked by the headline: “71% Of President Barack Obama‘s Twitter Followers Are Fake.” By this measure, of the President’s nearly 19 million followers, 13.5 million are bogus. Irrespective of your political affiliation, one must admit that nearly three-fourths is an extremely high percentage of phony followers, suggesting that some shenanigans were employed to bolster the President’s social status.

And The Most Authentic Twitter Personality Is…?

President Obama’s troubling Twitter follower score caused me to wonder to what degree other leading Twitter personalities’ followers were largely nonexistent. To this end, I used StatusPeople’s online tool, which estimates the percentage of followers which are: Fake, Inactive and Good.

The results were surprising. The arguably the least-authentic personality on the list, Kim Kardashian, has the most legitimate followers of the Top 15 Tweeters, with 43% of  her Twitter fans judged by StatusPeople to be real and active. Ms. Kardashian’s genuine percentage is more than double that of the lowest ranking member of the list, Shakira, with a paltry bona fide estimate of 21%. Even more disheartening, Ms. Authentic herself, Oprah Winfrey, per StatusPeople’s ranking, placed a mediocre tenth place, with only 26% of her followers extrapolated as real and active.

The following list is ranked from the highest to lowest percentage of real and active Twitter followers, not by each celebrity’s total followers.

StatusPeople notes that their results are inexact, as their algorithm samples a portion of a Tweeter’s followers and then extrapolates relative percentages across the entire data sample. In addition, pioneer Tweeters with longstanding Twitter accounts are more apt to have a higher percentage of inactive users. However, given that all of these are mature Twitter accounts, it is safe to assume that the results are accurate/inaccurate on a relative basis.

Read more here.

Forbes: How to Be Yourself on Social Media – Without Freaking Out Your Boss

It’s a common story: employee posts something unusual on Facebook, boss flips out, and drama ensues. But it’s a lot less frequent when the questionable Facebook photos are, in fact, posted by the boss. That’s what happened to Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre, the second-largest chain of boutique hotels in the U.S.

Conley – author of Emotional Equations: Simple Truths for Creating Happiness + Success – was known for his fun, unconventional approach. But when he posted shirtless pictures of himself on Facebook having fun at the Burning Man Festival (no sex or drugs involved), some objected, leading to a barrage of media attention. The question: how can business professionals navigate the new boundaries of social media – while still maintaining their authenticity?

Conley decided to keep his photos up: “Our mission statement is creating opportunities to celebrate the joy of life and that’s what we were doing there,” he told me in an interview. “I realized it was one more opportunity to be authentic in life. In this case, a lot of people said, ‘we really appreciate the fact that you are who you are.’” Based on his own experience, he has four tips for other business professionals on how to thrive and keep it real online.

Make sure your values and your company’s are aligned.  Sometimes – if it means you might lose your job – the risk of social media just isn’t worth it, says Conley. “If you’re in a conservative company with very strict rules, and if you’re in an environment where people are expected to leave their personal life at the door, then you need to be careful about whether Facebook is right for you.” Don’t risk your job needlessly – but if your values and your company’s don’t line up, think hard about whether it’s the right place for you.

Read more here.

GOP, Dem conventions battle to claim social media supremacy

Courtesy of The Hill

By Alicia M. Cohn and Julie Ershadi

Social media is taking over both political conventions this year, and Democrats and Republicans are battling to prove which party can best take advantage of the new technologies.

Organizers deny that they are competing against each other, but between press-release descriptions of strikingly similar digital strategies and clear competition on the same eight social platforms, it is obvious neither wants to be left behind.

“We’re not worried about what the Democrats are doing. Our plan here is a great plan,” said James Davis, communications director for the Republican National Convention.

Nikki Sutton, digital-media director for the Democratic National Convention, was just as confident in her team’s strategy. “It’s always nice to know what the other side is doing, but we don’t take that into consideration in our plans.”

Democratic organizers are calling their convention “the most open and accessible convention in history” while the GOP is calling its the “convention without walls.” Both have a stated goal of opening up convention events to anyone, anywhere, so long as they have an Internet connection.

Both conventions will live-stream all events through Google and encourage real-time tweeting by attendees through high-speed Wi-Fi access. AT&T has invested nearly $625 million in permanent upgrades to the Charlotte area and $140 million in Tampa Bay.

According to Davis, new network infrastructure capabilities at the GOP convention can handle sending 37.5 million tweets per second. The official GOP hashtag is #GOP2012; the Democratic hashtag is #DNC2012.

“This is really the first convention in a really mature social-media era, social-networking era,” Davis said. “We know the [social-media] conversation’s going to happen; we want to be part of that conversation.”

The conventions have a presence on just about every social platform out there, including Instagram, Pinterest and Flickr, and both started blogging early about preparations.

“It’s important for us to meet people where they are,” Sutton said.

“Everybody has a different way of getting their news and sharing it with their friends and family.”

The parties are scrambling for both online interest and engagement.

The Republicans currently have wider audiences on Google Plus, YouTube and Twitter, but nearly twice as many people have actually viewed the Democrats’ YouTube videos and three times as many have hit the “Like” button on the Democratic National Convention’s Facebook page.

While organizers won’t name one digital tool they are emphasizing more than others, the help of Google and Skype indicates they are throwing their resources behind video.

The Republican National Convention features a digital green room located near the stage in the building where Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will accept the GOP nomination.

When speakers leave the stage, they can use this room to tweet, update their Facebook page or conduct a Skype interview.

“It’s one way of really taking what you see from the broadcast and immediately putting it in the online sphere,” Davis said. It’s an opportunity for speakers to “drive conversations with people outside of campus so they can experience the convention just the way they are.”

The conventions are also an opportunity for the social networks to take over a spotlight that has dimmed through lower viewer interest in traditional media coverage. The Wall Street Journal noted last week that Nielsen ratings for broadcast convention coverage have plummeted since 1980.

Google spokeswoman Samantha Smith said the goal at both conventions is to connect candidates with voters where they are, which is online.

“Even when they’re watching the conventions [on TV], they’re usually doing so with their mobile device in their hand or their laptop within reach,” she said.

It’s their opportunity to showcase Google Plus, a platform that has arguably become more popular with politicians than it is with average users.

The platform did not even exist during the last presidential cycle, but this year it will host convention-themed Google Hangouts, video chats with speakers, delegates, reporters and anyone else who stops by Google’s physical display areas at either convention.

Google-owned YouTube will serve as “the focal point for online activity” for the GOP convention, organizers said, and Smith confirmed that “YouTube experts” will be present to assist with the technical production of the live stream.

The benefits for Google include the opportunity to host a daylong dialogue with Bloomberg at both conventions on the Internet and free expression online, two topics that prompted their share of controversial legislation this year. All lawmakers are welcome to attend.

Mobile apps for each convention also aim to help attendees actually present at the conventions keep track of schedules and navigate local events using geo-social tools such as Foursquare. Facebook is also setting up “Photo Spots” at both conventions where attendees can upload photos instantly to their timelines.