Off the Record

Social Media’s Presence at the RNC and DNC

by Tammy | September 10, 2012

The word “routine” has a bad connotation. Some people go out of their way to avoid it! However, I’m what my friends call a “creature of habit”. I actually enjoy routine and get easily flustered when there’s anything that alters what I usually do(I know, I sound like I’m 60 years old).

These past two weeks on the road at both the RNC and DNC convention shook my routine in every single way you can imagine. I wasn’t in my bed, didn’t eat my food, and couldn’t go to the gym. Plus, I also missed the first two weeks of my graduate courses, so whenever I would get an email from a professor informing me of an upcoming paper or assignment which I didn’t have time to finish, I would unconsciously start eating my nails (a terrible habit of mine which I do when I’m stressed).

Today as my whiney voice started to invade my head complaining about everything that I had to catch up with, I took a deep breath and decided that I had to remind myself that this experience was well worth it and everything I have to do is nothing that a few red bulls can’t solve.

My role at both conventions was divided in two. I went for the academic experience, but I was also working for the Office of Marketing by updating Little Lu’s twitter, facebook, foursquare, among other platforms.


Being Little Lu’s social media eyes at the convention was difficult at times because I had to be careful to be non-partisan.

I also tried hard to keep everyone at Lynn on the loop of what the team was up to because , which was hard with a crappy smartphone like mine.

So, I would like to thank Andy Vermes for letting me take over his phone whenever I had a chance =)

However, through Little Lu’s coverage of the conventions I learned a lot from about how the role of social media has radically changed the way which politics is promoted.

Even though we didn’t have credentials to get us into the convention floor, we did have access to the GOP’s Convention Without Walls, which entailed a full virtual access to the convention through the use of an array of platforms such as twitter, google hangouts, skype, twitter and youtube.

In social media lingo, the RNC convention was a hit in numbers with “more than 4 million tweets with a peak of 14,743 tweets per minute, 2.5 million-plus YouTube views and 300,000 hours of streaming video viewed in a three-day period with an average view time of more than 30 minutes”. -

I find it very intersting that even though the convention was virtually accessible to everyone, in comparison to 2008, where 37 million viewers turned on their televisions to tune in to watch Sarah Palin’s speach, only 22 million watched Paul Ryan deliver his vice presidential acceptance speech.

Why are people watching less of the conventions on TV?

I think it has to do with us now being able to become part of events without turning on our television.

For instance, while we were covering the RNC convention there were times that our schedule wouldn’t allow us to sit and actually watch the entire speeches (which we had to know about if we were going to interview people about them). What did we do? We researched by reading live blogs, tweets, and facebook updates of each party.

However, I didn’t feel that the RNC convention was as engaging as its social media was! At least I didn’t sense the local excitment with this political event.

I tried to interview local business owners about the changes they felt in their business throughout the week and none felt that there were any!  I received the same response when I asked locals.

On the other hand, the media and people presence was very palpable in Charlotte duirng the DNC. Not only were there reporters from networks, but independant reporters were around town finding stories as well.

The public (including ourselves ) was able to attend caucus and council meetings where we had the opportunity to hear the First Lady Michelle Obama speak to women and Hispanics.

I’m really thankful I was able to go to both conventions because I saw firsthand the American political process at its finest. I witnessed the essence and nature of each party and have a better understanding and what to expect as we host the final Presidential debate. Plus, practice makes purpose! So, watch me tweet my life away on Oct. 22!

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1 Comment

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