Social Marketing from Democrats and Republicans

Social Technographics of Voters
Above: The Social Technographics of Voters, read Josh Bernoff’s Analysis which further segments the behaviors of McCain vs Obama supportersa

In this post, I’m going to make some observations from my network, but my only caveat is, this is not representative of the whole tech industry. First, we should ask some questions about what I’m seeing:

Does the Social Media Space tend to skew Democratic?
I’ve noticed for some time that the web industry tends to skew very liberal and democratic, you certainly see elements of this within Digg, for example, I did an advanced query of dugg (voted) stories that got on the front page, (title only) and McCain has 42 pages (many stories are negative), and “Obama” has 65 pages (mixed bag of content).

Does sentiment tell us much?
Yet frequency isn’t telling, and sentiment is. Last night, I asked the community around me in Friendfeed to list out three keywords what come to mind in this association test for both parties. You can read the Republican, and Democratic responses –nearly opposite.

Update: I’ve asked my Friendfeed network to think about why there’s strong liberal sentiment in FF, read their responses.

Why does the social space (or at least my network) tend to skew so left? It could be a number of factors from age, willingness to adopt change, or that the ideology of the very social web in it’s essence could be core to liberal beliefs. In fact, if you read a book on blogging or social media marketing, you could quickly transplant the words “company” for “government” and the book would still read very logically.

Is it because there may be many Republicans in Silicon Valley?
Yet despite this lean from the left within my social media network, I do remember during the last election that a great deal of republican votes came from the Silicon Valley. I remember my friends who worked at NASA, Boeing, Lockheed, that were strongly encouraged by their management to vote Republican, as it would increase the eventual spending in the aerospace and hi-tech sector. Many of these companies have large headquarters in the Mountain View area, with thousands of companies supporting this eco-system, in fact read this 2004 article from the last election which profiles ‘sheepish republicans’ in Silicon Valley, it’s an interesting mix here in the valley as while folks make swing left in ideology, many are very wealthy.

Is it adoption of Obama and McCain Social Media?
Not all is lost by the Republicans in this space, this article by Techpresident (Which is indexing and commenting on the the digital marketing efforts of each candidate) suggests that even though Obama may have a grass roots lead within social media and dedicated staff (including Facebook co-founder), McCain’s supporters could master the tide by creating an API and encouraging the movement to create their own applications.

Or is it speed of adoption of these tools?
If speed is any type of indicator of adoption of social marketing, McCain just launched their online community on the campaign domain, called McCain Space, Yet Obama’s campaign has been up and running with MyBarackObama for some time.

So what is it that fuels the social media space to appear to be more active for the Democrats vs the Republicans? Let’s focus on data:

Some Answers May Lie with the Technographics of Voters (see above graphic)
In Josh’s analysis, he points out that the tendency to Join (be in a social network) between Obama supporters and McCain supporters is nearly a margin of 13%, which isn’t a lot but given that across the board Obama members are more particiaotpry in soical technographics than McCain supporters they’re more able to energize their base. Perhaps the most telling is the Spectator behavior, which indicates which support group is more likely to consume citizen created content. Nearly tho-thirds of Obama, (59%) consume social content, and less than half of McCain (44%) supporters will consume social content, a margin that straddles the half way mark.

Data about overall existing behaviors of users (technographics) are perhaps a key indicator that demonstrates why one party may have an advantage in social marketing.

In typical internet humor, a meme called “Little known facts about Sarah Palin” continues to spread throughout twitter. Given her largely unknown background, the twittersphere has had fun creating her background for her.

The above is just cursory observations, had I more time I would love to do a more formal study on this specific vertical, maybe in four years.