Among the many ways this election has been unique in American history is the degree to which it has played out on social media.
Donald Trump has raised a miniscule amount of money in comparison to other recent campaigns, but had no trouble winning the Republican primary and is at least putting up a fight here in the general. In the primary he spent just $10 million, dwarfed by Jeb Bush’s $82 million and Marco Rubio’s $55 million, but the New York Times estimates that he received nearly $2 billion in “earned media,” aka having speeches replayed or doing interviews on TV. But another way he’s reached people for free is his freewheeling, sometimes riveting Twitter account, which routinely receives tens of thousands of retweets, reaching millions and millions of timelines each time the candidates releases an ill-formed thought.
An article yesterday in The Ringer detailed how Williamsburg’s own Thunderclap is playing a role in reaching people during the campaign season as well.
According to The App Fueling Twitter’s Most Powerful Political Campaigns by Alyssa Bereznak:
Bernie Sanders supporters used the website regularly to organize fundraising surges, the most significant of which occurred on the Vermont senator’s birthday, reaching more than 3 million timelines,” the article says. “On February 1, the day of the Iowa primary election, a group named Hillary for Iowa blasted out a message to more than 6 million social feeds, urging people to vote for the former secretary of state.
— Thunderclap (@ThunderclapIt) September 6, 2016
Thunderclap is like Kickstarter for sending out a social media blast. People can donate their status to a cause they care about and Thunderclap will automatically tweet for them and everyone else who’s on board at the same time, creating a burst of social media activity. We profiled its founder, the incredible Dave Cascino, here a year ago.
In the article, Bereznak talks to organizations, like the AARP, which would not typically use social media but are finding value using Thunderclap:
If organized lobbying once came in the form of a steak dinner at a restaurant off of K Street or volunteer phone calls, its future lies in flooding people’s social media feeds until they can’t possibly ignore you any longer.