When Will Social Media Elect a President?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203960804577244961842322348.html

Will social media help convert interests into votes?  What will be the real impact of social on the 2012 election?  Traditionally billions of advertising dollars are spent each election year on traditional TV advertising that are intrusive and combative between candidates.  New technologies have always altered campaigns, from Nixon blending in with the background in his telecast debate with cool & collected JFK, to Clintons appearance on late night shows, to Howard Deans scream going viral, to Youtube and “Obama girl”.  In 2008 1 in 40 people on Twitter were following Obama, those numbers will be astounding this year and they are hard to predict.  As the social media footprint is growing at a rapid pace that is difficult to forecast we will see drastic differences in the social participation as it pertains to the election in 2012 vs. 2008.  Candidates cant just dump millions of dollars into a “social media” bucket because that is where they should be, they will need to be strategic and subtle and smart in their approach.  They should look to target the key influencers not necessarily those wit the most friends but those with the biggest ideas to make the biggest impact.

How well do you think social media will be able to influence the 2012 campaigns and will this convert interest into votes?

 

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9 thoughts on “When Will Social Media Elect a President?

  1. I’d like to see some statistics on the percentage of people on facebook that could not vote vs. could vote during the last election compared to this election. Such a statistic could reveal if their is an increased opportunity to influence the election. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find one. :-/

  2. Social media is going to have a huge impact on the 2012 election. Based off of Obama’s success in 2008, whoever his opposition ends up being is going to definitely make that a focus to avoid Obama capitalizing on this footprint. It is likely that Obama will replicate their 08 efforts and build on those but as the article points out, social media is not a money dump, you have to be strategic. Part of reason social media is successful is that its authentic so any candidate trying to step up to Obama’s level on social media must keep authenticity in mind.

    Either way, Social Media will play a huge role regardless of he candidates social plans because of how anyone can spread a video, message, anything on a candidate through all networks. More people than ever are on facebook so the impact of word of mouth of the internet is not something that should be overlooked.

  3. I find very disappointing that the Republicans have not caught on the Social Media phenomenon that proved to be so successful during Obama’s campaign in 2008. I do not believe that social media will influence this year’s campaigns as much as it did in 2008. Being an rather unknown young candidate, Obama had to find fast easy ways to reach to an array of new supporters, social media was just right for the task. Obama seems to have the edge over the Republican candidates, so I do not see social media being as effective to the degree that it was in 2008.

    • We’ve seen a bit of social media buzz develop around Ron Paul, which drives home the biggest problem here. With no offense intended to Sarah Palin, if you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig. The most interesting candidate in the Republican pack is Paul, so he generates the most social buzz. I’m wondering why Huntsman didn’t try to adopt an Obama-esque strategy given how much he was marginalized.

      What does strike me as interesting is the negative use of social media to make these Republican candidates look ridiculous (not that they need much help). Take, for example, the graphic that was going around that showed how much Newt Gingrich used to look like Dwight Schrute from The Office.

  4. It is hard for the Republicans to penetrate the social media voters simply due to the numbers; 60-65% of 18-29 year olds vote Democratic and women, who comprise of 53% of the presidential vote, again predominantly vote Democratic (I think its safe to assume these two groups combined comprise of the majority of social media users). In order for the Republicans to grab these votes, they must first change years of social behavior, which will be highly unlikely in this years election.

    In my event, social media will transform the way we vote, and it may be for the better, engaging more to participate as the years go by and more and more begin using social media as a means to communicate.

    • I agree with George; Republicans have been slow to capitalize on social media’s power. Admittedly, there are variations within the party; Newt Gingrich’s Twitter campaign announcement fell flat with pundits pointing out he didn’t have the followers, nor the message to capture the uniqueness of this tool, while Jon Huntsman’s daughters got some great media play with their YouTube clips.

  5. When social media offers an effective way for financial support of non-profits, there is a sound reason to see if the use of social networks had any impact on election fundraising. 2008 election is a good example.

  6. Don’t know much about US election process or culture, but from Obama case study, social media is definitely a cost-efficiency tool to enlarge exposure and gather attention.
    I’d like to ask the whole class that how many of you think that the content on social media affect or will affect your votes and to what extent do you think this influence is?

  7. Unfortunately, Social Media will most likely sway the vote tremendously as it has in the Obama case. Agree that this is a problem because many of the vocal media are of specific demographic that can skew views, however I feel that this will likely stabilize in the next few elections.

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