Social Media & The Midterm Elections!

Social Media & The Midterm Elections

By: Asra Arif

12 million users clicked the “I voted” button on Facebook in this past years elections compared to the 5.4 million in 2008.  This number is anticipated to increase for the 2012 elections.

The founding fathers of the United States could have never predicted that this country would one day be run by the internet.  Democratic issues are in the hands of social media, especially during election season.  Social network sites heavily influenced the midterm elections of 2010.  With Facebook as one of the prime components, it was easier for us to predict the election outcome. 2

“Facebook announced earlier today that there was a direct correlation between having more followers on their social media site and campaign success”[1]

Politicians have the internet to their advantage, which affects their title in the democratic world.  This years elections took place on November 10th, and the infographics clearly demonstrate how the runner’s popularity in the cyber world mimics their popularity in the real world.

According to Mashable, the Facebook data team concluded that in following 98 of the house runners, 74% of the candidates with the most fans on the site won.  Out of the 19 senate races, 81% with the most fans also won. Although media savvy campaigners don’t always win, such as Sharron Angle and Dino Rossi, when it comes to a close race, every fan, vote, and follower counts. [2]

Research on Facebook allows us to note which kinds of people vote, when they voted, and who they voted for.  This can lead researchers to conclude a trend that followed a certain candidate, and which factors may have influenced the election.

According to Facebook data on elections, more Republican senators involved themselves on Facebook compared to Democratic senators.  Once the polls closed and the results were in, 29 states had Repulican winners, and 19 had Democratic winners. [3]

Along with Facebook, other social networking sites projected winners, and many users contributed their insight on the midterm elections.  According to SarahEvans.com, different social sites reported their numbers on the elections based on online activity:

  1. Republicans had 61% of all online mentions
  2. Republicans were more engaged in online elections than the Democrats
  3. 36% of election conversations took place on mircroblogs, and 20% of it took place on social networking sites
  4. The election received about 4.6 million page views per minute through web news traffic [4]

It is important to know how much social media can influence politics.  Runners can use feedback from social connection sites to help sway votes by knowing what issues are most important to them.  InterSearchMedia.com conducted an experiment on their Twitter and Facebook pages regarding taxes, spending, and the economy.  The results showed that the least amount of people had concerns with tax, and the most amount of people had small business initiatives as their primary concern.  Politicians can use results like this to target Americans, which can help them win. [5]

ABC News has teamed up with Facebook since 2008 to live stream election coverage.  They were able to interact with users about issues that mattered most.  This interaction revealed which users voted for which candidate, and why they did just based on their status updates, questions, comments, and their opinions. 6

“Those who were slow to realize the shift in themes via social media comments, updates, websites, keywords and group lists won’t be scratching their head – they literally saw it coming… It is crucial to begin developing strong ties with the elements behind social media that make it work better.” 5


[1] DiMarco, Chris.  “Social Media Trends Predict Winners in Mid-Term Election”

.  Published: November 03, 2010.  Retrieved: November 11, 2010.  http://election-2008.tmcnet.com/topics/technology-impact/articles/113758-social-media-trends-predict-winners-mid-term-election.htm

[2] Calabrese, Anthony.  “Social Media’s Impact on the Midterm Elections [Infographics]”

.  Published: November 09, 2010. Retrieved: November 11, 2010.  http://mashable.com/2010/11/09/social-media-elections-infographics/

[3] “Election Results: Governor Map”

.  Retrieved: November 12, 2010.  http://elections.nytimes.com/2010/results/governor

[4] Evens, Sarah.  “Mid-Term Election 2010 by Social Stats”

.  Published: November 03, 2010.  Retrieved: November 12, 2010.  http://prsarahevans.com/2010/11/mid-term-election-2010-by-the-social-stats/

[5] Admin.  “

How Social Media Impacted the 2010 Elections.  Published: November 03, 2010.  Retrieved: November 12, 2010.  http://www.torycapital.com/2010/11/03/tech/social-media-impact-2010-elections/

6 Fitzsimmons, Caitlin.  “ABC News taps into Facebook for Midterm Elections”

.  Published: October 11, 2010.  Retrieved: November 12, 2010.  http://www.allfacebook.com/abc-facebook-election-2010-10

Where Politics meets Social Media?

By: Brian Molinari

With the increased popularity of Social Media, it seems like everyone is trying to tap that resource like a secret oil well. The problem is, now everyone knows! It seemed like at first this movement was predominantly in the youth. From there, Democrats had the upper hand, but now everyone has jumped into the race.

ProjectVirginia is a conservative effort aimed at taking back some of the social media world that seems to have been dominated by Barack Obama videos and democratic blogs. This conservative blog, with the tagline: “Where politics meets social media,” is not paid for by a specific campaign or party member(s).  At its basic function, this blog-based website tells the people of Virginia whats happening in the GOP party. It has blog posts with stories about politicians and their agendas but it also has a whole lot more under the surface.

ProjectVirginia uses Twitter and Facebook statuses and comments, as well as its main blog to increase awareness about politics. They are using social media to inform and attract grown adults, making them want to support the GOP. This also works in their favor when attracting young voters and civilians. Among all blogs on the internet, ProjectVirginia is ranked 1910. That is very successful considering  they focus mostly on Virginian conservatives.

During the 2008 Presidential campaign, McCain tried to launch an agenda on the web to spread word of his policies. They offered prizes and gifts for people who sent stories, links, and videos in supporting McCain across the internet. Little did they know,  they could host a blog, Twitter account, and Facebook page themselves. Believe it or not, this campaign for social media support did little to nothing when compared to Barack Obama’s social media blitz.

ProjectVirginia stretches their audience out by blogging about national issues, politicians, or ideas. One of the stories on the main page was actually a blog post about the relationship between John McCain and MTV’s “Snooki”. Yes, that’s right. McCain and ‘Snooki” are Twitter friends, posting tweets back and forth wishing the reality star a happy birthday and even diving into issues like taxes on tanning salons. This culture jam, mixing a former presidential candidate with a current reality tv star is something that has spawned from the current social media outbreak. In the past, there would be no communication between two people of these types. Now with Social Media, politicians can seek out new supporters by connecting with celebs through social media.

Websites and blogs like this should become more popular and they are finding out how to reach the emotions of party supporters. Politicians are realizing that they need to tap this well of untouched riches. Blogging is a great way to connect with new voters and old supporters. It offers easy ways to connect your blog with any other social media outlet, such as twitter and facebook. This social media barrage can help politicians spread the word about their policies, local gatherings, and also can be used to spread stories that may drum up support for their conservative cause. The blog offers up to the second access, and always has a place on the web for citizens to look at it now or in the future.

Resources:

http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2008/11/03/snapshot-of-presidential-candidate-social-networking-stats-nov-2-2008/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/06/AR2008080603589_pf.html
http://www.wikio.com/sources/projectvirginia.com-HhOOo
http://projectvirginia.com/mccain-snooki-resume-tweeting-over-birthday/
http://twitter.com/projectvirginia