Money. That's what it takes to run a successful presidential campaign whether the candidates like it or not. Lack of funding is the reason why Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina suspended their presidential bids last week. Money pays for ads, staff, events, and much more, but it does not pay for social media presences or media coverage.
Media coverage has always been an easy way for candidates to get free advertising on what they believe or why they should be nominated, but now that news outlets are on social media, there is even more opportunity for quick video clips from interviews or graphics like the one below to get shared, so each debate and in person opportunity directly corresponds to how candidates do on social media.
Social media is now a huge part of the campaign because it is a way to reach many for little to no cost. Candidates now are guaranteed to have a big presence on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram at bare minimum, and these platforms serve as an easy way to get their views across to many without spending money.
I follow all of the candidates on Twitter to see what they are saying and how they interact with one another, and though each uses the platform similarly, they all are a bit different. Most of the candidates do a great job of matching their online presences to how they talk and act in real life. No longer is social media simply a way to advertise events and ask for campaign funds.
Even the President uses social media as a way to share what is going on. @POTUS joined Twitter in June 2013 and shares parts of speeches and updates on how his administration and America are doing. What is interesting is that @BarackObama has existed on Twitter since March 2007, perhaps to add outreach when Obama was first on the campaign trail.
Each candidate has his or her own tendencies on each platform, but you don't need me to tell you that. If you want an easy way to find out how candidates feel about different issues without reading their entire plans, follow them for a few weeks, see what they say in a condensed platform, and watch the video clips. I think that seeing what the candidates have to say in video clips or in short Tweets is the best way to actually get to know them.