Social Media in the 2010 Elections

1 11 2010

 Aside from the mounting power struggle between Dems and the GOP, as well as an amusing “Demon Sheep” commercial, I feel as though this season’s elections are panning out like any other.   I strive to be an educated voter and participant in our political realm, and it is necessary to seek out information, be it written or televised, that come from different perspectives in order to formulate your opinions.

I personally subscribe to content put out by both a young conservative, Steven Crowder, and a seasoned liberal, Anderson Cooper.  I am not one to shove my own beliefs on another person, I can appreciate anyone’s views if and when they can show me WHY they think what they think– having an intellectual basis for your opinions is important in an age where Jon Stewart is considered a “news source” rather than the entertaining social satire that it is.

The first Presidential election that I was conscious of was the 2004 Bush-Kerry race.  Although I was not able to vote, I actively read about and discussed the issues with my parents, teachers, and peers.  Weighing the coverage of that election against that of Obama-McCain in 2008, I can definitively say that use of social media and promotion of the “Rock the Vote” program by popular celebrities was something utilized by political candidates- presumably to better reach and influence the often apathetic 18 to 25-year-old set of voters.

 Of this “revolutionary” approach to reaching America’s young voters, writer Adam Ostrow commented “Obama’s social media tools have been all about organizing campaigners and viral marketing.”  The 2008 article even boldy states that Obama’s online networking would “certainly play a big part in his 2012 re-election bid and that of whoever challenges him.”

The Nielsen Wire reported that between February of 2008 and 2009, Twitter saw a 1382% increase in activity- making it the fastest growing “Member community” online.

Edmund Lee recently blogged for AdvertisingAge about an NYU/Washington University study that found the “smartest” political tweeters to be GOP figures: John McCain, Jim DeMint, and Scott Brown.
Professors Scott Galloway and Doug Guthrie, who hosted the non-partisan poll, concluded that “The Republicans are the underdogs, they’re just trying harder– there’s a greater sense of urgency for them.”

The post also said: “The GOP’s advantage, according to the study, “is the result of more robust participation on Twitter and YouTube,” where Republicans score higher on average, 26% and 29% respectively. Democrats, however, hold a 5% advantage on Facebook.”
Galloway noted, “Social media is a barometer for how people are feeling, their sentiments which can turn into intentions. This could be a forward-looking indicator that Democrats could have a tough time in November.”

One example of Republicans’ utilizing Youtube is this CRNC video, added to their youtube channel last month. I particularly appreciate the College Republican National Committee’s tone, because it highlights the ways in which the President-elect used social media outlets in 2008 to attract young voters- voters who are now dissatisfied with his progress and leadership.






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