Did Social Media Decide the Election? Find Out Now.

Social Election Keyword Cloud

Did Social Media Decide the Election? Find Out Now.

Social Media and Elections — Did social media decide the election? Social Election Keyword Cloud

by Dale Dillon Lips

Does social media affect elections?  More and more people are participating in political discussion online, but has it made a difference in how people voted?

A recent Pew study found that 39 percent of all American adults say they have engaged in at least one of eight civic or political activities via social media.  In addition another Pew study (post election) found that 30% of registered voters have been encouraged to vote for a particular candidate by family and friends via posts on social media such as Facebook or Twitter.

Both the Romney and Obama campaigns acknowledged the potential power of social media by taking it very seriously. For example, Obama employed a staff of 150 to oversee social media and his election!

The focus seems to have been on building followings and promoting interactions on election topics.  Obama’s followings on Facebook and Twitter are higher; however, it is generally thought that Romney’s effort produced more interaction.  (from The Daily  Transcript)

While large followings and good interaction are important in evaluating the inter-relationship of social media and elections, what information can the candidates glean from monitoring the social conversation?  Quite a bit, it turns out!

It’s definitely a good idea to monitor the electorate’s interest in issues and thus on which topics the candidates should focus, and also what resonates with the voters.  Both volume of post topics and tone of posts can be monitored and quantified, and trends can be identified.  For example, the 5 most talked about topics in the 2012 election were:

  1. Taxes
  2. Budget
  3. Education
  4. Economy
  5. Heath care
Notably missing?  Foreign Affairs.
But did any of this actually sway votes or decide the election?  What do you think?  Please share, and stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog.










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