Can social media enhance the US President’s ability to persuade?

white house

CHALLENGE

To examine President Obama’s use of social media to enhance his ability to persuade – in terms of significant positive shift – the American public’s opinion towards his position.

 

APPROACH

  • Detailed analysis of 8 years worth of Presidential social media. This involved study of three different accounts connected to the President (across the platforms Facebook & Twitter)
  • @POTUS – @BarackObama – @WhiteHouse

    Facebook and Twitter were the chosen social media platforms due to

    • Their ease of public access to post history (and other analytics)
    • Longevity of usage during Obama’s tenure.
  • Correlated the social media activity to the agenda
  • Looked at ‘Before’ and ‘After’ results of quantitative polling metrics and qualitative segmentation of voter intent.
  • Compared high levels of social media usage to low levels to see if it affected the results.
  • Controlled for the use of other media by normalising the results (high/low all other traditional media usage).

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 22.54.27

 

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 22.54.15

OUTCOME

  • Strong influencer effect: This was more significant for those already favourable towards the agenda of the President.
    • Evidenced through how demographic groups supportive of Obama’s stance (and higher users of social media) increased their support of the President’s agenda in the polling from before his social media initiative to after.
  • Noted: Effect was weaker (or in some cases reversing) within those demographics which had a larger tendency to disagree with the President – indicating cognitive dissonance within these groups.

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