Mitt Romney Returns to Instagram

AP Photo/David Goldman
AP Photo/David Goldman

His last post to Instagram was in November of 2012, but this week, after a break of over two years, Mitt Romney has once again started posting photos to the social media service.

The renewed posting to his Instagram account is yet another bit of evidence that Mitt Romney is truly serious about exploring a third run for the GOP nomination for president.

Setting up social media is, of course, one of the big chores of any candidate in today’s connected world, but Romney has stayed off social media since the end of his 2012 presidential campaign. This is quite unlike all the other likely 2016 contenders, all of whom have been on social media for some time, especially for two potential candidates getting the most attention–both positively and negatively–Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz.

A recent review of Facebook showed that Cruz and Clinton had gobbled up 40 percent of the mentions of the 2016 candidates, and on Twitter the pair garnered 47 percent of all mentions.

“Of the 15.9 million mentions of candidates’ names or Twitter handles between Sept. 1 and Dec. 1, Cruz snagged 4.6 million mentions, or 29 percent, while Clinton garnered 2.9 million mentions, or 18 percent,” Politico noted in December.

Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry came in next, earning 11 percent of the social media conversation, while Senators Rand Paul (R, TX) and Elizabeth Warren (D, MA) came in at 8 percent of mentions.

The numbers went down from there, but the one candidate who is thought of as a major player was almost absent from social media. Former Republican Florida Governor Jeb Bush was mentioned by only three percent of social media users at the time.

Certainly social media will remain an important focus for the candidates.

“Social media is rising to a place that’s very important compared with television–every major campaign has to have an Internet strategy and a social media strategy to be competitive and to be serious,” said Pew Research Center’s Director of Internet, Science, and Technology Research, Lee Rainie, who appeared on Fox News late last year.

But there is one way that Facebook will be a bit less useful for candidates in 2016 than it was for those from 2012.

One of the ways that Obama made millions in campaign donations and amassed a massive email and contact info database was that Facebook allowed app makers and various parts of Obama’s campaign machinery to share users’ info with each other.

This time around, though, that won’t be possible as “Facebook no longer allows app makers to harvest entire friend lists; instead, campaigns will only be able to get lists of friends who are already using the app in question.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at