Lobbying...and Social Media?
State police fees would do more harm than good

Politics and Social Media in Pennsylvania

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By Triad Strategies President Roy J. Wells

The day after Scott Brown won the special election in Massachusetts to fill the U.S. Senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy, a number of pundits pointed to the use of social media to help explain the Republican victory.

In fact, a number of political analysts credit Facebook and Twitter as helping to reverse the Democratic edge in the 2008 Presidential election. So, I thought it would be interesting to look at how some Pennsylvania politicians are using social media as we move toward the 2010 primary.

First, some statistics from Massachusetts that seem to demonstrate that everybody loves a winner:  Scott Brown, the Republican, had 188,577 Facebook fans and 19,331 Twitter followers as of Feb. 1. Since Jan. 23 (the day I began to follow this issue), Brown had 163,229 Facebook fans and 17,847 Twitter followers, so in nine short days his fans and followers increased by15.6 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively.

On the other hand, Democrat Martha Coakley had 18,104 Facebook fans and 4,109 Twitter followers on Jan. 23, decreasing by 1.7 percent and 3 percent, respectively, in the interim.

The obvious disparity gives credence to those who argue that social media helped the Republicans win that Senate seat (though I hear PA Republicans helped significantly with Brown’s ground campaign).

So, what is going on in Pennsylvania? Well, no one as yet is putting up these kinds of numbers. Governor Rendell has 5,553 Facebook fans, but I could not find any presence on Twitter. The stats for those who want to replace him in the fall of 2010:


(Note: Twitter followers are people who have signed up to receive somebody’s tweets.  I have listed both personal and campaign Twitter profiles when both accounts are actively tweeting.  Tweets are the messages that are received by the followers.)

So, it is pretty clear that the trend in Pennsylvania is similar to Massachusetts, with the two Republican candidates having a greater number of Facebook fans.  Joe Hoeffel leads the pack among Democrats.  Tom Knox, who is no longer in the race, still counts 1,785 fans.

The level of activity in social media for the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race is much higher.


As a sitting U.S. Senator, it is not surprising that Specter has an overwhelming lead in Twitter followers.  But, Pat Toomey has a significant lead in Facebook fans. It will be interesting to see how the social media battle trends here.

Each week, the TRIADvocate will update these statistics and add Congressional, State Senate and State House races. Though the variables that drive elections are numerous, it will be interesting to measure how each of the candidates is using social media in the campaigns. And by the way, this is one medium where the cost of reaching each potential voter is priceless (and by that I mean virtually without a price!)


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Thanks for the heads up! We've made the corrections.


I appreciate your having corrected the spelling of Joe Hoeffel's name (from "Hoefful"). How about also correcting the number of Facebook fans?


Joe HOEFFEL has 1,375 Facebook fans: http://www.facebook.com/search/?q=joe+hoeffel&init=quick#/JoeHoeffel?ref=search&sid=4101231.136473852..1

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