The Importance of Social Media in the 2012 Election

More and more are the variety of social media through which voters are able to use.  These are convenient and simple tools that are effective ways to express the opinions of voters and influence the course of the electoral campaign. The role that social media has been critical in drawing conclusions about the outcome of the 2012 election. According to various studies, websites like Facebook have caused an increase in voter registration. Ultimately, social media networks are the powerful influencers that are often capable of moving large quantities of votes. It is important to recognize that an electoral campaign that is closer and pays closer attention to real human dynamics has a completely different approach than the traditional campaign. Nowadays, an effective campaign should be based less on the money spent and more on the intelligent use of new technologies to create new bonds with the everyday voter.Ultimately, the roles of social networks, new media as well as the weight of the establishment are all factors that will have a crucial role in deciding the electoral dispute.

As previously stated, social media has encouraged many young eligible voters to register and vote. For many of the past elections, the young demographic is not properly represented in voting. This year, there are record numbers for college aged students voting.  Much of this can be attributed to social media outlets.  Young people in general use social media more than any other demographic (to date). Also, social media websites such as twitter allow you to follow each candidate and get quick, short, and frequent updates on what they plan to make their policy be if they are to be elected. This is only the second election that we are able to follow Candidates directly on Twitter since it did not exist prior to 2006. Also, Twitter has gained a substantial amount of users since the 2008 election. On Twitter, there are trending topics, and subjects regarding the recent presidential election have been trending at record numbers. Social Media allows people to get quick and easy access to information about the election.

Both presidential candidates devoted much time and effort to boost the collection of information and social media sharing amongst voters. In the current election, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have predominately utilized Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, which are the top powerhouse tools of social media today. As the election progresses, candidates have concentrated their efforts on “swing voters”. Swing voters are voters who have yet to make up their minds and plan to wait till the very last minute to make a decision about who to vote for. Social media can establish a medium for interchange between our presidential candidates and many of these swing voters, avoiding an influence on votes that have already been established.  This reveals the importance of social media and web video usage in terms of voting. Not only can social media institute this medium that allows a campaign to be specifically modified for particular voters, but it provides value for each candidate, resulting into fewer costs for ads. The cost of advertising through social media is much less than the cost of paying T.V. channels to run advertisements; not to mention the impact of online ads have been reported as just as good or perhaps even better than the ones shows on television. All political parties in the current election have greatly benefited from these recent online updates and social media enhancements.

Sasha De Vecchi, Lindsay Gallagher, Jay Reilly, Cary Welborn

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One thought on “The Importance of Social Media in the 2012 Election

  1. Although social media has given presidential candidates the opportunity to express certain viewpoints and messages to targeted populations and individuals, this practice can have harmful implications. When candidates use individuals’ private information, such as their “likes” on Facebook or “hashtags” on Twitter, to use to their advantage and sway voters in a certain direction, this practice becomes unethical. Now more than ever, it is important for users of social media to be aware of how their personal information is being used by political candidates in order to change their opinions and sway votes.

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