Bernie Sanders has been christened “Facebook Royalty” by the New York Times. The senator has the largest official Facebook page in Congress, with 1.3 million likes; his posts have garnered more interactions than others in the race; and he even composes his own messages. But the Times failed to acknowledge that the “king of social media” success extends beyond one network.
Let us hereby call Sanders the master of Google Plus. Sanders has nearly 1.4 million followers on Google’s social network. Nearly every day, Sanders greets his followers with a graphic, often a quote overlaid on an image. This content is not always original to the site. In fact, most of these quote cards can be found on Sanders’ Facebook page, but the recycled images generate hundreds of upvotes and shares anyway.
Now his following stands nowhere near Beyoncé at 2.5 million or Kim Kardashian at 2.6 million. President Barack Obama has 5.5 million. Compare Sanders' with Sen. Rand Paul’s 203,371 followers, however, and you have a clear winner.
Google’s social network fell off the map due to lack of interest, but Sanders’ Senate office team has not let the page fall into oblivion. Obama's account last posted on March 6 with a link to a New York Times article that had 162 shares and 1,569 +1 (Google’s version of likes or upvotes).
When the network launched in 2011, Google engaged interested parties, including releasing guidelines for politicians. But for the 2016 election, the network does not appear to be a focus for digital campaign teams. Democratic contender Hillary Clinton does not even advertise her Google plus account on her campaign site, and it has only 630 followers and no posts. Marco Rubio’s campaign page has 407 followers. Sanders’ campaign team associated a different account for his campaign that has 641 followers and no recent posts.