As November 7 kicks off soul searching and navel gazing in both parties trying to explain their respective victories and losses in last night's presidential election, it's worth considering a startling contrast that took place on Twitter in the hours following the election results.
At 11:16 p.m. on November 6, @BarackObama sent a tweet that within twenty minutes became the most retweeted tweet in history, racking up an impressive 638,130
retweets and 216,123 "favorites" in the hours since then.
The @MittRomney has been silent since 5:55 p.m. yesterday.
No formal concession, no photos, no "thanks," no graceful exit from the campaign. @BarackObama has tweeted 22 times in the fifteen hours since @MittRomney's last post on Twitter.
The most recent tweet from @MittRomney, sent Tuesday evening, asks Twitterers to vote.
With your help, we will turn our country around and get America back on the path to prosperity. Please vote today mi.tt/UtXKer
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) November 6, 2012
The most popular tweet ever, sent by @BarackObama on Tuesday night.
Four more years. twitter.com/BarackObama/st…
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 7, 2012
Of course, the Obama campaign has always proved extremely adept at wielding the internet to rally supporters and reach out to constituents. Which is why it's so stunning to see that the Romney campaign hasn't copied this approach and embraced the tweet-often, Facebook-frequently approach that's worked twice now for President Obama. They didn't need to reinvent the wheel -- they just needed to replicate it. The fact that social media helps engage voters is old news. So why treat Twitter like an afterthought?
The non-tweet, even though it comes after the election results are in, is as much a gaffe as "binders full of women" and his $10,000 wager, only it's what he isn't saying that's getting him in trouble. A post to Twitter after the polls had closed wouldn't have changed the course of the election, but the quiet suggests a larger ambivalence toward social media that almost certainly did so.
The deafening silence from @MittRomney also sends a loud and clear reminder: don't ignore the internets. The highways of the internet have most certainly become more than a few.