In September of 1960 the Kennedy and Nixon presidential debates changed how debates were won and lost. Did Twitter just help change the political landscape of debates again?

A couple of weeks ago there were two Republican debates in one day. Depending on whom you ask won, some say the winner was not even technically in the debate, but rather a candidate that interacted via Twitter. The most retweeted Tweet (over 30,000 retweets) came from Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders. Meanwhile the current leading Republican candidate’s tweet was retweeted was less than 15% of that number.

But sorry, #feelthebern-ers. While campaign polls saw an increase in Sanders numbers, he’s still got a tall mountain to climb. However, Sanders does appear to understand the evolving technological world we live in and has taken a page out of President Obama’s book. One blogger wrote:

Obama dominated the social media space because his team got how networks work.  The real power of social media is not in the number of posts or Tweets but in user engagement measured by content spreadability.  For example, Obama logged twice as many Facebook “Likes” and nearly 20 times as many re-tweets as Romney.  With his existing social media base and spreadable content, Obama had far superior reach.

Bottom line? As many marketers know, social is an engagement channel. It’s about relationships, not campaigns. It’s about a customer (or voter!) journey. And the presidential candidate that understands that will have an advantage over those who don’t.

For a great read on “How the Nixon-Kennedy Debate Changed the World” via televised debates, check this out!