Social Media Impact on Politics 2012

Every Tweet Counts

Social Media Impact on Politics 2012

Social Media Impact on Politics 2012

by Dale Dillon Lips

Social Media Did Not Decide 2012 Election But in the Future… Every Tweet Counts

 …you can be sure that it will have a decisive impact.

Last week’s post described the bigger role that social media played in this year’s election.  Now we will focus on why social media will have a greater impact and possibly decide future elections.

Strategy — Connect, Engage and Encourage Loyalty

Campaigners will increasingly incorporate social media’s impact on politics in a coordinated strategy.   This strategy must connect with voters, engage them and encourage loyalty.  (Just like business!)  In order to be effective, the campaign will need to answer these questions:

  •                 Which types of voters are on which social platforms?
  •                 What type of information and content will motivate them to enter the discussion and to share?
  •                 What type of interaction will resonate and firm up their support?

Tools — Identify, Track, Inform

Social media tools can identify undecided voters, track issues and how they are trending, and inform voters on political issues.


There is tremendous power in the amplification provided through social media’s virality of retweets and shares.  And, don’t forget that it is not only what gets said by a candidate, but what other people say.  For example,

Mitt Romney learned a hard lesson during the Iowa GOP Candidates Debate on December 10, 2011. We’ve always known that journalists are looking for quotes and sound bites every time major candidates take the stage. Romney tried to make a bet with Rick Perry for $10,000. Immediately, Twitter and other social networks started buzzing about it. The initial response by analysts was mild during the break that immediately followed the statement, but shortly after they started noticing the response from social media. The Twitter hashtag #What10kbuys started getting attached to a lot of the #IowaDebate and #GOPDebate posts, eventually passing them on the trending Tweets list.

Today, social media acts to not only amplify the sound bites, but also to give journalists a way to gauge public sentiment about what is being said.

Voter Feedback

Social media provides a way for the electorate to respond.  It is now a two-way street, with campaigners getting immediate feedback from the public.  It’s not only what the campaign message is, it’s what other people are saying about the message or the candidate.  The feedback influences the traditional media:

“… the real power is in how traditional media scrutinizes social media responses. They have given social media a status of being the heartbeat of public sentiment. Most people won’t go to Twitter to check out the #What10kBuys hashtag, but many will have heard about it at some point in post-debate coverage. Social media’s effect on mainstream media strengthens its influence on the voters because it acts as thermometer checking the temperature of the people’s opinions.”


In just plain asking for money, social media can’t be beat!  It is very effective, especially in small amounts that add up.  Note how many times Facebook ads for candidates raising money appeared the right side of your Facebook feed.

Targeted Organizing

Social media impact on politics is huge in potential for targeted organizing.  For example, “the Obama campaign can query lists to every woman over a certain age to rally against Romney speaking points, or send a personalized message to male voters from Michael Bloomberg, Garofoli noted.”   The Daily Transcript


To summarize, future political campaigns will incorporate a better understanding of social media impact on politics in their strategies.  There is no doubt that social media and politics are now joined at the hip.  Social media can help with fundraising efforts, identification and communication with undecided voters, help to determine where to focus efforts, strengthen loyal of supporters, gauge the trending of issues, and more.  What is your take on Social Media and Politics?  Do you feel that it decided the election?

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