— Rick Santorum (@RickSantorum) February 4, 2012
Senator Rick Santorum’s campaign never quite figured out Twitter is not Facebook. While Facebook is great for status-updates, Twitter is a unique platform that enables far more virality and engagement. Twitter increasingly performs like a real-time newswire, spreading information throughout the globe. Think: what does somebody learn from my tweet? If the answer is nothing useful, nix it. Nobody needed to know how much Rick Santorum loves Colorado’s Western Slope, plain and simple. Keeping a high level of quality tweets is more important than maintaining a constant level of noise.
The above tweet isn’t a fluke, it is representative of how the @RickSantorum account was used throughout his campaign, leading me to award him Worst Tweeter for Presidential Candidates. Our data confirms this. Rick Santorum got the lowest number of retweets per tweet of any presidential candidate who participated in televised debates. This isn’t just because Rick Santorum had a lower base of support for much of the primaries. Even Jon Huntsman and Tim Pawlenty got more retweets per tweet on average, over the course of their campaigns.
Twitter users just don’t like status updates. According to surveys, “what I’m doing now” tweets are the most disliked, with a particular hatred for FourSquare updates. Of course, sharing a behind-the-scenes look at the candidate can make them seem more human and closer to supporters, just don’t go overboard. Keep status-updates down below 1 in 10 tweets.