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Report: People don't retweet candidates on the economy

President Barack Obama speaks during an online Twitter town hall meeting. Social media research indicates that voters might be in the mood for a broader discussion than the economy.

Maybe the Obama and Romney campaigns have got us all wrong.

Amy Mitchell is with the Pew Research Center for Excellence in Journalism. She co-authored a new report on politics and social media and says, "When you look at what the campaigns themselves were pushing out, the economy ruled."

Indeed, the candidates can't say enough about the economy. Says Mitchell: "Then when we look at what citizens were retweeting and sharing and liking on the different platforms, it was not mostly the economy, they were other issues which tend to be ones that people feel passionately about like immigration, women's rights, these issues where people feel a personal connection to them."

Mitchell says the Obama team posts four times as much on social media as Romney's campaign and is active on twice as many platforms. It's also more targeted.

Mitchell: At the time that we were studying, the Obama campaign had 18 different voter groups that people could join and get updates on that were catered to them whether it was veterans or women or young people or any other number of groups. The Romney campaign at the time of our study did not have any groups that people could join. They have now added nine, and I imagine may continue to add some as the campaign progresses

Moe: What’s the significance of that? Microtargeting approaches versus a broader approach.

Mitchell: You also think about how that connects to what people were sharing or liking - the things that they feel personally connected to. That's a lot of what the digital campaign is about. This development of technology is feeling there's a one-on-one connection with the candidate.

That feeling of connection, however, isn't being reciprocated, says Micah Sifry from the site Tech President.

Micah Sifry: There's very little retweeting, very little commenting, there's very little listening going on by these campaigns. In some ways, they're taking the old habits that come from broadcast media, where you talk at voters and you message at voters and not really using the two-way nature of online media

Moe: Do you get the sense that that's intentional? Or do campaigns just not get it?

Sifry: Oh no, I think this is intentional by now. I think they've decided that this is the most reliable path, that anything else where you open yourself up to dialogue is fraught with risk. They're very worried about making any unforced errors, anything the other side can pounce upon and turn into a flap.

**

Bring me the findings!

According to a recent study, teenagers don't prefer to listen to music on CDs, or MP3s, or Spotify. Or 8-tracks.

According to Nielsen: two-thirds of people under 18 choose YouTube as their primary music destination.

Now, if we look at the all time most popular YouTube videos, we should be able to arrange a playlist of what the teenagers love most.

Starting with Justin Bieber. Drop in some Lady Gaga. Rock out to Rebecca Black. Dance to Charlie Bit My Finger. And rock out to Nyan Cat.

Well, I'm sure teens are a bit pickier than that.

About the author

John Moe is the host of Marketplace Tech Report, where he provides an insightful overview of the latest tech news.

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