Social media has played a huge role in this year's presidential campaign, not just representing the candidates themselves, but also their biggest supporters: their wives. And Michelle Obama and Ann Romney are no exception.
Traditionally, candidates' wives have supported their husbands by reaching women voters and humanizing the candidates by highlighting their life outside of the campaign. In the age of social media, the channels for broadcasting these messages are new, but the voice is very similar to first ladies and aspiring first ladies we've seen in the past. Social media's wide reach makes their messages even more prominent and even showcases these remarkable women's personal accomplishments more than we've seen in past campaigns.
To give you a view of each wife's social media efforts, we've compiled the following breakdown of activity from their social channels with compiled screenshots and various social media examples from around the web. Take a look at how both Michelle Obama and Ann Romney have capitalized on the potential of campaigning in the social world.
Here's the lowdown on the networks both women use and the followings they have. You'll notice that although Michelle Obama has many more followers in the networks, Ann Romney is relatively new when it comes to social media and hasn't had as much time to build up a comparable following.
- 1,659,570 followers
- 547 tweets
- This account is run by #Obama2012 campaign staff. Tweets from the First Lady are signed -mo.
- 8.4 million Likes
- Doesn't seem to update personally
- 41,840 followers
- 53 pins
- People who inspire me
- Recipe ideas
- Around the White House
- Great memories
- 132,865 followers
- 59 tweets
- This account is run by Ann, herself
- 318k likes
- Updates personal - first person
- 12,493 followers
- 167 pins
- July 4th Recipes
- Crafts / DIY
- Things I Love
- Books Worth Reading
Supporting Her Husband
As mentioned above, the candidates' wives are some of their largest supporters and their social networks provide a unique viewpoint. Both Michelle Obama and Ann Romney do an excellent job of supporting their husbands, not only by advocating for votes and donations, but also backing their respective platforms.
During the campaign, the both Michelle and Ann use their social networks to remind followers that their lives encompass more than politics. These women are mothers as well, and through sentimental photos that show the other roles of their husbands, the wives humanize their husbands in a way that the candidate might not be able accomplish on his own.
Reaching out to Women Voters
The spouses each have the ability to relate to women voters in a way that their husbands cannot. They often reach out to women voters individually and promote their events through their social networks.
Milestones on Timeline
Both wives have utilized their timelines to show important events. This allows followers a glimpse into the lives of these women.
It's not all about the campaign trail for these women, it's also about reaching out to people and donating their personal time to raise awareness for causes each fervently believes in. Ann is known for her support for breast cancer research and Michelle is known for promoting a healthy active lifestyle through her organization, Get Moving.
Both Ann Romney and Michelle Obama's social media channels demonstrate the time and effort each puts into their husbands campaign, as well as reinforcing their goals. The campaign then becomes visible through another set of eyes and followers are able to see facets of the candidate, which may not be readily visible in the news. The audience is also privy to the lives of these women, and are able to connect to the candidates in a way that may have not been otherwise possible.
Special thanks to Caroline Monday for helping with research.