August 20th, 2010
01:35 PM ET
4 years ago

Study: McCain is a social media 'genius'

McCain's 'genius' level digital IQ is is derived from a combination of metrics culled from his activity on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, political blogs and his own congressional website.
McCain's 'genius' level digital IQ is is derived from a combination of metrics culled from his activity on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, political blogs and his own congressional website.

(CNN) – At nearly 74 years old, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, might not be the first person to come to mind when you're asked to name a social media "genius." But according to a new joint study, he is just that–the U.S. senator most adept at using social media.

New York University professor Scott Galloway and George Washington University School of Business dean Doug Guthrie ranked all 100 U.S. senators based on what they call the lawmakers' "digital IQ." The score is derived from a combination of metrics culled from each senator's activity on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, political blogs and their own congressional website.

Republican Sens. Jim DeMint and Scott Brown took a close second and third behind McCain, with Sen. Al Franken–the Senate's most social media-savvy Democrat–coming in at number four.

McCain's digital IQ of 156 was enough for researchers to classify him as a "genius." DeMint, Brown and Franken are also in the genius category, with IQs of 154, 152 and 143.

Republicans average 5.5 points higher than Democrats, according to the study. Their IQs also grew faster, as members of the GOP saw 6.7 percent month-over-month growth on Facebook versus just 3.6 percent for Democrats.

"President Obama pioneered the social media trail. However, Republicans are blazing it," the headline of the study's introduction says.

The analysis found that the 10 most conservative Republicans–according to their voting records–have a higher average digital IQ than the rest of their party, while the 14 most liberal Democrats lag behind their party.

"If social media is the temperature of the digital domain, it may be an especially cold fall for Democrats," the study's authors write in the report.

The non-partisan think tank L2 released the report, "Digital IQ Index: U.S. Senate" on Thursday.


Filed under: John McCcain • Popular Posts • Senate • Social Media • Social Networking
soundoff (145 Responses)
  1. Former Republican, now an Independent

    He is probably following his friend Sarah Palin, which is all she is good at. He's still a lousy Senator and she is still a lousy candidate for anything.

    August 20, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. Terry

    Good to see the old boy is good at something. Although, I'd be willing to bet that he has no clue but rather a well informed staff.

    August 20, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. HB

    McCain didn't know how to use anything during the presidential campaign, someone else is using these items in his name

    August 20, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. Can't We All Just Get Along?

    I wouldn't call anyone who let Sarah Palin loose on America a genius in any respect, in any technology, in any field.

    August 20, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. Beside myself

    Are you serious? This guy was already 90 years old at the dawn of the computer era.

    August 20, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. Fail

    McCain and Genius don't go together ever again after he picked Sarah Palin for VP.

    August 20, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  7. Rex

    McCain a genius? He picked Sarah Palin as his VP running mate. Hardly the stuff of a genius there.

    August 20, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  8. bill smith

    This is a clear reason to doubt the purpose of making a study that is clearly flawed. His aides handle this and I doubt he would be able to discuss technology in even the briefest manner – old and getting older.

    August 20, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. Facts are not fair to the GOP

    Not to mention McCain's taste for younger women. McCain-Snooki in 2012.

    August 20, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  10. sumonecommon

    This is ludicrous to call him a social media genius! Do you not remember his campaign!

    August 20, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  11. CNN=corporate news network

    Well, if the studies rank "media brilliance" on facebook, youtube, twitter activity and blogging, and John McCain is a genius, that means he's not leaving much time for getting anything else accomplished. Spend all your time tweeting, that's valuable time that could be put towards deal making and legislating – y'know, what congresspeople are supposed to do! Aim high!

    August 20, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. Kristen

    I follow McCain on Twitter because he is vigilant about tweeting in real time. I can know what committee is doing what before it ever hits CNN. He also inspired me to follow my local state Senator (Kyle McCarter) and Bill Brady. No "media bias" filter for me.

    August 20, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. Jim in Idaho

    Are you kidding me? Just because anyone in the Senate is the best the Senate has to offer–I'm sorry but that's hardly a sign of genius. That simply makes him better than the rest of a pack that has what? A pathetic 17% approval rating? There are 8-year old kids with more tech savvy than the entire Senate and House put together.

    August 20, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. Chas

    Maybe a genius but ABSOLUTELY NO COMMON SENSE – AHHHH – Sarah Palin ! Need to prove my point any more than that?

    August 20, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  15. Ken in NC

    After his selection of Half Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, being a genius on a BlackBerry would equate him only to the status of a little less than a Dunce in the White House.

    August 20, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  16. Phil in KC

    I think he's hired some very social-media-conscious staffers. They do the tweeting, facebooking, etc. I doubt Sen. McCain fully understands what they're doing. Look at the hits he took during the election for his lack of knowledge in this area. Social media genius? No – but a politician who learns quickly and takes action to correct a perceived weakness.

    August 20, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  17. Charles

    I believe what they mean to say is that they have genius staffers. Nobody believes that these senators are planning their social media strategy.

    August 20, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. rdepontb

    Someone has to keep track of all those tubes that make up the Internet now. We've got our man. Send him to Silicon Valley ASAP! Don't waste him on Arizona alone!! I mean it!!!

    August 20, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  19. dcgonz

    Yea, it was sure "genius" selecting Sara Palin as a running mate!

    August 20, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  20. Lastp

    Yeah. A man with no dignity

    August 20, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  21. financeman

    John Mccain can't even be close to be called a genius after picking Sarah Palin as his running mate and getting blasted in the presidential elections. If he is the best Senator using social media guides then we have a major problem with our government. Oh that's nothing new!

    August 20, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  22. Linda

    McCain social media "genius"? Come on CNN, McCain is
    obviously paying someone to do this work.

    Old man McCain probably does not know how to use a computer!

    August 20, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. Dude

    McCain is a genius alright. He got Sara Palin and Joe the plumber into the arena. Sara is completely out of coherance with the GOP and Joe the plumber started this Tea Party thing and will most likely take votes away from the Republicans. Way to go, McCain.

    August 20, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  24. dodgord

    Most ridiculous thing I've heard today.....

    August 20, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  25. Tobias

    Digital IQ. Are you serious? McCain is an avowed Luddite. He wouldn't know a twitter from a twinky. These high digital IQs belong to the cadre of professional PR people and not the individual senators. Gimme a break!

    August 20, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
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