On April 11th, 2012, Hilary Rosen claimed that Ann Romney “never worked a day in her life”. What followed was a real-time example of how digital media is changing the 2012 election.
After that comment, Ann Romney launched her Twitter account, @AnnDRomney, and sent her first tweet:
I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.
— Ann Romney (@AnnDRomney) April 12, 2012
This tweet set off one of the more interesting days for followers of Twitter and politics. Ann Romney dominated the trending topics, and at one point garnered more mentions than Justin Bieber. By April 19th, Ann Romney had 38,647 followers, as her message spread virally.
In addition to Twitter, Ann Romney experienced massive growth on Facebook. On April 11th, Ann Romney had 6,037 likes. By April 13th, Ann had 62,082 likes: a 928% growth rate. By April 17th, Ann had 174,263 likes, for a staggering weekly growth rate of over 2787%. Another Facebook page, “Moms for Mitt”, also experienced the same growth trends as Ann Romney’s Facebook page. Between April 15th and April 17th, Moms for Mitt added 53,040 likes.
This rapid growth offers lessons in both the short-term and the long-term. In the short-term, this event demonstrates the ability of a campaign to organize effectively around an issue. In the long-term, Ann Romney has opened up a new avenue for the Romney campaign to reach voters. Both the political and communications department of the Romney campaign have a new pool of voters that can volunteer for Mitt and receive the latest information from the trail. Though the media may have moved on to the next great story, Ann Romney will continue to provide captivating content that reaches voters throughout the 2012 election.