The success of a candidate's Twitter strategy can in part be gauged in how often a candidate's message is retweeted by followers to a broader audience. By that measure, the AP analysis found Cain has outpaced his GOP rivals.
Cain, the former pizza magnate, has sent 579 messages to about 142,000 followers under (at)THEHermanCain handle since joining the race. Of those, 144 have been retweeted more than 100 times.
Despite their best efforts, none of the Republicans are in the same league with the president when it comes to the successful use of Twitter.
Obama, whose campaign revolutionized the use of the Internet as a fundraising and organizational tool in his 2008 campaign, has 10.8 million Twitter followers. His campaign, under the handle (at)BarackObama, has tweeted 731 times since launching his re-election bid. Of those, 690 were retweeted more than 100 times.
Most of his tweets are sent by staff, but Obama has personally tweeted a handful of times, such as when he went to Capitol Hill to pitch his jobs plan in September. Tweets directly from the president are signed -bo.
Obama's digital advisers acknowledge the campaign had a huge head start online against the Republican field. But they also maintain the success of their Twitter strategy, particularly measured by their retweets, comes from using Twitter to ask supporters to take a specific action — attending an event, watching a speech, sharing their story about how his jobs plan might help them. The Republicans haven't learned yet how to make best use of the platform, Obama advisers say.
"Fundamentally, you are trying to shape a relationship with voters. Go volunteer, donate, go vote. It's not a novelty for us," Obama campaign digital director Teddy Goff said.
Gillum reported from Washington. He can be reached on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jackgillum
Fouhy can be reached on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bfouhy
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