U.S. Politics on Facebook: Year in Review

December 29, 2011 at 2:48pm

This was a busy year for U.S. politicians on Facebook. Every major Republican presidential candidate announced his or her candidacy on Facebook, either through live streams of their speeches or through special Facebook-only video messages.


Even governors engaged with their constituents to highlight their agendas and legislative victories. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker weathered one recall election through posts on Facebook, and prepared to face another in 2012. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was particularly active, joining Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg for a Facebook Live interview. Christie also hosted his own event with Education Secretary Arne Duncan.




Viewers watched President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on C-SPAN’s Facebook page and then headed over to House Speaker John Boehner’s page to see the Republican response.


Both pages invited users to comment on the content of the speeches, and the White House also released a behind-the-scenes video on their Facebook page about how the speech was written.




The 2012 Presidential race shifted into gear, with potential candidates attending the Conservative Political Action conference in Washington, DC. People around the country kept up with the speeches on CPAC’s Facebook page, and potential candidates posted photos from the event.


Meanwhile, as protests continued over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget, fellow Republicans posted words of encouragement on Facebook while the AFL-CIO posted updates for those supporting union workers’ rights.




Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld took to Facebook not only to promote his book but to tussle with veteran newsman Bob Woodward.


Texas Gov. Rick Perry appeared on a Facebook Live from South by Southwest Interactive, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced his presidential exploratory committee on Facebook and Rep. Michele Bachmann streamed a live Facebook town hall.




The Institute of Politics at Harvard University found that Facebook is the most effective way for politicians to reach 19 to 29-year-olds in the U.S.


President Obama officially kicked off his 2012 re-election campaign with a Facebook “Are You In” application, and George LeMieux kicked off his Senate race in Florida with a Facebook town hall.


Politico explored how campaigns are adapting to the new social media world; and President Obama visited Facebook for a town hall with Mark Zuckerberg.




President George W. Bush and numerous other public figures posted statements regarding Osama bin Laden’s death on Facebook; Rep. Mike Pence took to Facebook to announce his candidacy for governor of Indiana.


Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Ron Paul announced their campaigns for President on their Facebook pages; Huckabee explained on Facebook why he’s not running for President.


Mitt Romney hosted a Facebook town hall; and Michele Bachmann considered moving up her announcement due to the outpouring of support by voters on her Facebook page.




Gov. Romney formally entered the 2012 Presidential race with a livestream on Facebook; Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachmann and Jon Huntsman also joined the GOP field.


Gary Johnson took to Facebook to argue why he should be included in CNN’s debate, and the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that Facebook users who visited the site multiple times a day were 57% more likely to persuade a friend or co-worker to vote.




Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, President Obama and many other candidates shared their Fourth of July activities; NBC and Facebook announced a new partnership that includes a GOP Presidential Primary debate in New Hampshire; Ron Paul successfully raised money from his Facebook supporters;




Both sides of the Wisconsin recall election mobilized supporters on Facebook; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wrote a Facebook post about the recall election results;


Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., announced a series of Facebook only town halls with GOP Presidential contenders.


AllFacebook.com reported that the 2012 GOP hopefuls descended on Iowa and Facebook; Gov. Rick Perry jumped into the presidential race while Gov. Tim Pawlenty dropped out; and former candidate Herman Cain posted his economic plan on Facebook.




GOP presidential candidates took to Facebook to criticize President Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress


Candidates all over the country posted their thoughts and memories about the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.


Harvard University professor and former Obama adviser Elizabeth Warren announced her Senate run against Republican incumbent Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts with a video on her Facebook page.




In a press conference live-streamed on his Facebook page New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced he would not be running for the Republican nomination for president.


Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin posted a note on Facebook about her decision not to run for president. 


Politicians got into the Halloween spirit by posting photos to Facebook, such as Mayor Rahm Emanuel in Chicago.




Facebook was key to ballot initiatives in Ohio and Maine.


Candidates turned to Facebook to thank those who have served in the military on Veterans Day.


President Obama posted a video on Facebook attacking Mitt Romney as a flip flopper.


Governor Christie visited Facebook and sat for a Facebook Live interview with COO Sheryl Sandberg. 




Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain dropped out of the presidential race while Newt Gingrich’s Facebook popularity continued to rise.


Gov. Rick Perry asked Herman Cain’s Facebook fans to join in supporting him; President Obama asked fans who they would invite to a “Dinner with Barack” event.


A year-end review determined that stories about bin Laden’s death and the Occupy Wall Street protests led the list of top Facebook political stories of 2011.


Whether fighting for political victory or connecting one-on-one with voters, politicians made 2011 the most social year ever. As we head into 2012, Facebook users can look forward to a Facebook/NBC presidential debate and the vigor of a general election campaign sure to play out across pages, live streams and sponsored stories.