Tales from the Trail

Hollywood actors pose for Obama campaign social media drive

President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign is launching a “celebrity portrait shot” social media drive, a source close to the campaign said, drawing again on its base of Hollywood supporters to drum up enthusiasm for the Democratic incumbent ahead of the Nov. 6 election.

The source said that the initiative would bring between 20 and 30 actors – such as KaDee Strickland from medical drama “Private Practice,” Ashley Fink of TV musical series “Glee,” and Penny Marshall of the classic sitcom “Laverne & Shirley” – to a production studio in Culver City, California to be photographed in black and white for roughly 15 minutes on Friday.

The portraits will be blasted out over social media websites, like Twitter, with links to the Obama campaign’s website, where supporters can sign up to volunteer for or donate to the Democratic incumbent’s re-election drive.

“President Obama needs to be allowed to continue the seeds he has planted in his first four years of office,” state marketing materials for the initiative, called “Keep it Growing.”

“[The actors] are all going to be holding grass leaves” to reflect the theme, and they will wear black shirts and dark jeans or pants, the source said.

“Talking about” Obama and Romney on Facebook

When President Obama marked the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death earlier this week by unexpectedly addressing the nation from Afghanistan, several commentators cited it as an example of the ”advantage of incumbency”: the president’s visibility and ability to dominate the news are greater, just by virtue of being president, than those of challenger Mitt Romney, and he should be expected to benefit from the groundwork his campaign laid during the 2008 campaign, particularly its vast network of supporters, donors, and social media connections. 

Indeed, across a number of social media platforms, Obama’s following dwarfs Romney’s: Obama has 26 million Facebook ”Likes” to Romney’s 1.7 million; while Obama has nearly 15 million Twitter followers, Romney hasn’t yet hit half a million; on Google+, Obama has just over a 1 million users in his circles, compared to Romney’s just over 500 thousand; on Instagram, Obama has 636,790 followers to Romney’s 9,695. In absolute numbers, Obama seems to own a towering advantage over Romney.

But on Facebook at least, sheer number of “Likes” may not tell the whole story, or even the most important part of it. Last fall, Facebook launched ”people talking about this,” a metric that counts interactions with a Page — things like “liking” a Page, commenting on a post, or sharing a photo from a Page — over a seven-day period to measure user engagement.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Breyer on Twitter

The U.S. Supreme Court does not have an official Twitter account, but this just in — Justice Stephen Breyer is on Twitter and Facebook. But he is not revealing details of arguments or rulings.

USA-COURT/He told a congressional hearing on the Supreme Court’s budget that he has a Twitter account because of his interest in the protests in Iran after the 2009 presidential election. Twitter represented one of the best ways of learning what was happening in that country.

Since then, Breyer said he has received requests to follow him on Twitter, but has turned them down. The same applies to Facebook.