@FLOTUS Ain’t No Follow Back Girl

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by Spencer Brown

Social media has become one of the major focuses of any political campaign in today’s world. First campaign press offices had an account, then candidates themselves, and inevitably, spouses too ended up with a presence in the Twitter-sphere. In a time where many young people get their news from social media rather than traditional sources such as nightly newscasts or daily newspapers, Twitter has replaced a major part of any campaign: introducing the candidate to the public.

Now instead of reaching voters through published op-eds or with television interviews, Twitter becomes the tool used to build personality, shape and deliver messaging, and gain community support. As a consequence of this objective, supporters will follow, re-tweet, and dialogue with the candidates, their families, and their staff. The number of people who support and interact with a candidate and their surrogates is vital information for any campaign, and it would seem that candidates with the most followers must be winners. But in the clouded world of politics, Twitter activities are often just as sketchy as regular political operations.

It has recently been reported that Michelle Obama, the @FLOTUS herself, has many fake followers inflating her public profile. Of her 5+ million followers, almost 40% of them are deemed fake by online Twitter audit tools. So while it may look like she’s quite the popular lady about town, she may only be 60% as popular as her profile states.

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