Step 1: Log in to Twitter. Step 2: Befriend Betty White. Step 3: ???. Step 4: Profit!

While Mitt Romney is making steady gains on Facebook, his performance on Twitter has been less than stellar compared to President Barack Obama’s. And while there are some obvious reasons for the poor performance—Obama is the leader of the free world, after all—Zach Green of said there’s more to it.

As of this week, Obama had more than 16 million followers on Twitter. Romney sported a mere fraction of that, with just over a half million. And according to, on Wednesday Obama added 33,000 new followers while Romney added just 3,300.

The obvious reasons include the fact that Obama is not just a politician, but rather a cultural figure worldwide. He’s also had a few years’ head start to gain a solid following.

But Twitter and political guru Green said there are some more surprising reasons. Spammers will often include the president’s Twitter handle in tweets so that their messages will show up in various searches, driving more people to click on unrelated links. Also the recent crisis in Syria has resulted in a rash of tweets by people asking the president for help.

“Tell @PMOIndia and @BarackObama to boycott #Syria‘s No. 1 weapons dealer to stop the bloodshed,” wrote @RamezRafa.

But Romney is responsible for some of his lagging Twitter numbers: According to Green, Romney’s just not as active on the site as his Democratic competitor. For example, in the last month Obama has tweeted 409 times, whereas Romney only sent out 32 messages.

Obama’s social media team also knows how the rake in the retweets (in the last 24 hours Obama was retweeted 5,857 times; Romney got 544). One tweet had a simple message—“thank you for being a friend”—with a likable image of the president meeting with Betty White (and who doesn’t like Betty White?). That one message was re-tweeted more than 2,500 times.

So what’s the message to Romney? Well, for one thing, he should probably befriend Betty White. But barring that, logging into Twitter a little more couldn’t hurt.  

Photo via the White House

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Romney gains, Obama stalls on Facebook
The presidential race is already being fought on social media.
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