Any good marketer knows not to send material that will arrive on Monday or Friday. Everyone plays catch-up on Monday and new material gets easily lost. By Friday people just want to finish what’s on their plate, plan on dealing with anything new on Monday, which they then forget.
The opposite seems true of political messaging on Twitter. Analyzing over 32,000 tweets sent by presidential candidates since January 1, 2011 reveals the above trend. Tweets sent on Monday, Friday, and Saturday are the most likely to go viral, whereas Sundays are unusually quiet.
Let’s not treat Twitter in a vacuum. Any campaign should always keep one eye on the press, and Twitter is indisputably the platform of choice for political journalists. Monday provides your best opportunity for not only generating coverage, but shifting the news cycle for several days. I’ve always respected the Obama campaign’s understanding of the press; after all David Axelrod got his start as a political reporter in Chicago. You will notice that they have been rolling out new attacks on Mitt Romney every Monday, when the news cycle begins again. The echo chamber of the 24-hour news cycle carries Monday’s loudest scream through the week. Of course, breaking events, gaffes, scandals, etc. can disrupt that inertia easily.
You should tweet differently at the end of the week than the beginning. Don’t count on any reporters to pay much attention to what you’re saying by Friday afternoon, or on Saturday. Most of them take weekends just like anyone else. On Fridays and Saturdays, your target is supporters. Focus on directly connecting with constituents. Here’s your chance to break through the media filter and communicate with many people who aren’t online during the busy work-week. These users may have seen the nightly news but ignored your stream of tweets. Smooth over any mistakes or capitalize on the errors of your opponent. Don’t miss this chance to have the final word.