The 2012 Presidential Election is just six weeks away. For months now, the American public has been regaled with campaign speeches and promises from both candidates as they travel the country and attempt to prove why they are the better choice for America’s future. Really, not much has changed over the two hundred years.
The 2012 Presidential Election candidates know that by putting their faces in front of people, they may have a better chance of getting their votes.
However, both Mitt Romney and President Obama have embraced the 21st century and made social media key components of their campaign strategies. Go to either candidate’s campaign page and you will be invited to connect with them through a host of social media outlets, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Flickr, Spotify, Tumblr, YouTube, and more. Both Romney and Obama already have millions of Twitter followers and Facebook fans. That said, the American public has taken matters into their own hands to pass along election information to family, friends, and perfect strangers through these social media outlets as well.
Since its inception, social media has served as a conduit for addressing what matters most to people. As we have seen with countless news stories both in the United States and around the world – think the 2011 Japanese earthquake, this year’s Arab Spring, or the Aurora shooting in July – social media can disseminate information faster than any television broadcast or newspaper clipping. The 2012 Presidential Election is no exception.
Ever since last fall when the Republican Party began the process of selecting a candidate, we as a nation have been using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets to spread the word on whom these candidates are, what they are saying, and what we think of them. As both National Conventions also demonstrated, we use social media to discuss those on the periphery of the election – i.e. Clint Eastwood and Bill Clinton – as well as the candidates themselves.
How social media will affect the 2012 Presidential Election remains to be seen. Is it as simple as seeing who has more Twitter followers? Or who has more hits on YouTube? Probably not. However, it has made it far easier for Americans to learn about whom they are voting for and what they represent.
For that alone, social media has become a vital component of politics and will likely remain so into the future.