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Politics and Social Media: Election 2012

It was a long campaign season for Americans and it is almost over. The 2012 Presidential election was promoted, advertised, debated and polled – and with November 6th finally upon the nation the candidates and their supporters make their final social media pushes.

Overall, the candidates focused on getting people out to vote and proactively encouraging others to do so as well. Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney highlighted the necessary information for voters to determine the correct voting stations across America. On Facebook, the candidates pinned the information to the top of the page, and are promoted it heavily from their websites, making the content easily shareable for voters.

The same is true for Twitter, although President Obama‘s campaign promoted (via Twitter advertising) the hashtag #VoteObama as well as a promoted tweet featuring voting location information. At the time this article was published, Mitt Romney had not promoted any tweet or hashtag, but had instead been directing followers to his website’s voting information.  Twitter also set up a landing page for the hashtag #election2012 compiling relevant news and pictures throughout.

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There has been a lot of speculation leading up to the election regarding the real value of social media in determining who will win as well as the creative and unique ways various candidates have taken advantage of digital and social marketing. Some experts believe that social media for political use has become the norm and is no longer the exception to the rule.

As Paul Sloan explained, “…this seeming fascination with all things social as something separate, even novel, maybe a fleeting phenomenon, as 2012 could be a turning point of sorts – the last U.S. Presidential election in which the media pore over every detail about what’s going on with social media… At some point, it’s simply no longer surprising. It just…is.” Despite the slow adaption of social media in certain industries, marketers have for a while accepted social media as the norm and pushed to find unique and creative outlets to stay ahead.

Marc Andreessen took this notion even farther by saying “There is going to be a national election that is going to be about the Internet the way that 1960 was about TV for the first time with the Kennedy/Nixon debate…That hasn’t happened yet…When that happens, everything changes. The spending will tip, and the campaigning methods will change.”

Both Presidential candidates this election have embraced social media, although arguably to different extents. It will be interesting to see how the candidates of the future address social media and what, as Sloan said, will be the catalyst. Will social networks continue to grow or will niche social networks gain in popularity and influence?

Source: CNET

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