Conventions Without Walls

Over the last two weeks, both the Republican and Democratic Parties held their national Conventions, with the GOP gathering in Tampa last week and the DNC in Charlotte this week.   Besides being the pre-game political festivities for the electoral main event in November, both Conventions showcased the depth of integration social media now enjoys in the political space.

The GOP Convention kicked things off, by touting their “convention without walls”; rather than sticking to broadcast media and a traditonal website, Convention organizers pushed content out through multiple channels, including a branded YouTube page, Google Plus Hangouts, Instagram and a Convention Facebook app.

And this shift away from traditional media to the web was a wise move.  While the TV ratings dropped from previous conventions, the social media numbers for the GOP Convention were significant: over 4 Million tweets, 2.5 million YouTube views and 300,000 hours of streaming video consumed.

The Democratic Convention is no less connected.  Organizers launched a Convention mobile app, along with a branded YouTube Page, Google Plus page and Pinterest account.  Interestingly, Democrats are pushing viewers from the YouTube Page to the Party’s re-election hub, for an “enhanced” livestream, where (of course) you can easily join the campaign and make a donation.

The final numbers for the Democratic Convention are not in yet, but if the response from Michelle Obama’s address and last night’s speech from Bill Clinton are any indication, online reaction to the DNC Convention will likely trump the GOP figures.

What does all this mean?  Events are no longer relegated to the actual location or the traditional channels of TV and newspapers.  We are truly in the “livestream” era, where each agenda item is covered in realtime and people from across the globe can play an active and connected part in the event – even when they aren’t there.

The “second screen” isn’t just for your favorite TV show; it now is a feature of any notable public event or gathering.


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