If there’s one thing that I can give Sarah Palin credit for, it’s her growing social savviness. Maybe it was a lesson learned the hard way when McCain lost the presidential election three years ago to social media savant Barack Obama. Now, just months after Barack Obama threw his name into the ring with a Facebook announcement and a YouTube video, it looks like Sarah Palin could be doing the same.
Palin released a YouTube video on Friday teasing her upcoming visit to Iowa, where many are expecting her to announce her candidacy. She hasn’t confirmed or denied rumors one way or another, but the video has the look and feel of a polished presidential campaign ad as it shows Midwestern Palin fans (of all ethnicities) and big name media pundits alike praising Palin for how normal and down-to-earth she is.
The video also shows Palin taking the stage to decry the current state of the country—again, suggestive of her plans to run as she talks about getting “America back on track.” Additionally, the video shows Palin connecting with the local Iowans as she says things like “doggone it” (I don’t even know how to spell that) and “heck yeah!”
The video ends with a roaring grizzly bear (get it? The Mama Grizzly?...Let’s move on) and the words “Thank you, Iowa! See you again September 3rd,” followed by Palin’s signature. September third is the date Palin is scheduled to deliver a speech at the Restoring America Rally in Indianola, Iowa. The event was organized by the Tea Party of America.
Is the video hinting at plans to announce her bid for office? Rachel Maddow thinks so, tweeting Friday, "Why is it political common wisdom that gov Palin isn't running? What's her new Iowa ad for, if not for a campaign?"
If Palin is, in fact, hinting at plans to announce her candidacy on September 3, she wouldn’t be the first. Back in April, Obama announced his plans to run for re-election via Facebook and a YouTube video, making him the first declared candidate in the 2012 race. Many have credited a large part of Obama’s 2008 victory with his use of social media to connect with vast swaths of young voters online. McCain, on the other hand, admitted to reporters at one point that he doesn’t use email and has no plans to start. He also said that he was slowly learning how to use the Internet.
Is it possible that Sarah Palin has learned from McCain’s mistake? From the looks of her Facebook and Twitter accounts, she has heeded the call to get online, but she’s taking baby steps. She has some 3.2 million Facebook fans and 636K followers on Twitter, but she only follows 116 people. Meanwhile, Barack Obama has learned that the first rule of getting more followers on Twitter is to follow more people, so he follows 691K and has 9.7 million followers. Barack Obama’s Facebook page has 22.5 million fans.
Throwing your hat into the ring with a YouTube teaser video is a good start, but Palin will have a ways to go if she wants to rival Barack Obama’s social skills.