How Social Media is Influencing Politics

By October 25, 2011Social Media

The 2012 election is only a year away, and now almost all candidates are using social media in some way. With politicians implementing social media into their campaign, it brings them down to a more personal level. It helps us realize that they are normal people just like us, and use social media sites to reach out to supporters. Since almost everyone is using this form of media to reach out, it sets the bar even higher to take a creative approach that stands out from any other. However, this can work against them. Users on Facebook and Twitter can contribute in a positive or negative way. There is a lack of control with it comes to social media. Another important factor when using social media in a campaign is the audience it reaches. According to Mashable, 83% of Internet users from ages 18 to 29 are using some form of social media. People that voted in 2008 who were 24 and younger made up 10% of the total votes, which was the only age bloc that increased since the 2004 elections.

President Obama set the bar high in 2008 when his campaign used social media and the Internet to increase the amount of supporters. For his 2012 campaign, he is going even further to reach the younger demographic by creating a Tumblr page. The Tumblr blog launched yesterday, and time will only tell whether this approach is successful or not. The goal is to encourage Tumblr users to contribue to the campaign by using the features of “ask” and “submit” that the site offers. This should work to President Obama’s advantage, because he isn’t just posting videos or articles for people to read. This part of his campaign makes the conversation aspect of social media stand out. It is not just a one-way street, he is creating a dialogue that makes his campaign interactive.

 Compared to 2008, social media platforms have skyrocketed. Currently, Facebook has 800 million users; in 2008 there were 100 million users. Currently, Twitter has over 400 employees; in 2008 they had 8. Currently, YouTube averages 48 hours of uploaded video every minute; in 2008 the averages was 13 hours per minute.

Politicians today would be left in the dust if they didn’t execute some sort of social media in their campaign. So, for the upcoming 2012 election, what kind of social media campaigns do you think we’re going to see?

[Sources: Mashable, Tumblr]

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