Social media is all the rage. And it's here to stay. Facebook has its claws in 10% of the world's population. Twitter is knocking on 500 million accounts. 18 million of those follow Lady Gaga.
And politicians want a piece of that action.
Every GOP candidate in the current primary race has a Twitter account or three. For example, Rick Perry has his account, his campaign's account, and a "truth team" account. This does not include all the accounts run by others who dedicate the tweets they send to promoting Perry's candidacy exclusively. Such as this one.
One of the things that social media results in is data, tons of data. Even a simple "like" on Facebook is a piece of data. A "share" is another. A Tweet. A comment that can be interpreted by special software as inferring sentiment (approval/disapproval) is another piece of data.
What to do with all that data?
Companies like Socialitical want to help. One service Socialitical touts is working with campaigns to analyze social media traffic to help candidates understand what people are saying about them. This is a process they call Social Listening.
"What are the hot topics? What are people saying about them? Our proprietary monitoring software measures the online conversation and the sentiment, allowing you to track, capture and respond. Key measurements include: sentiment, volume, influence, authority and geography."
A finger on the pulse of the electorate, in other words.
How that information is used by the politician is the question. If a candidate uses it to tell him what the hot-button issues are in a given area, he can direct his campaigning and advertising efforts to target those concerns. Is a particular area more concerned about jobs? Or federal disaster relief? Or immigration? That kind of information will make the difference between a snoring audience and an engaged crowd.
Socialitical says it is non-partisan.