Social Media and Politics

Elections are just around the corner.  Literally, they’re tomorrow!

ballotboxThe past few weeks I’ve been digging political propaganda out of my mailbox, my inbox, it’s on TV, and it’s been no surprise to find political messages all over my social media networks.  These days it’s not uncommon to support your favorite candidate on by following them on Facebook or Twitter.  We can follow our “brand” of politician and judge their campaign through the communication they relay with their social media.

It wasn’t so long ago that I can remember rushing home from work to be able to watch a campaign speech on television.  These days, there’s no rush.  Whatever I missed I can probably find on YouTube. On election night, I can pop in a movie for the kids once they’ve had their fill of politics and just watch the results online.  Heck, my husband does that for football scores, why can’t I do it for political ‘scores’?

Today I can see a number of friends doing last minute shout outs to their favorite propositions on the ballot.  Friends from other states chime in with questions and can compare with what’s going on in their state.  Many campaigns are embracing and learning how to work with social media – just think about the past presidential election.  President Obama embraced social media, using YouTube for free advertising and rallying supporters in a way that no other candidate had done before.  Many people attribute his win to his knowledge and use of the internet.

Youcut
is another example of a social media hub experiment that allows ‘direct democracy’.  Youcut allows participants to suggest and vote on government spending programs that should be cut from the federal budget.  The item that receives the most media votes is brought to the floor for debate.

Of course, social media is a double edged sword.  Yes, it can make a candidate that is actively responding to his tweets seem real, but if his opponent posts an embarrassing incident on YouTube it might not matter.  A campaign most likely cannot be won solely with social media –  face to face networking and  priming the get-out-the-vote effort is still the foundation of a campaign.  Just because someone has virtual support does not mean it will actually translate into actual support.

Then again, it might help rock the vote.

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