Effects of Social Media on Voting

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In the United States, social media sites are currently being used by two out of three people, and search engines are used daily. Social media is helping America to stay informed, to stay organized, and to react rapidly. Not only can users on social media sites communicate with their friends, but they can also communicate with other users whom they connected with through shared use of political groups and pages. During the 2006 and 2008 election seasons, new technologies emerged that enabled individuals to participate in media-rich online communities organized around the creation and exchange of media content. The popularity of social media such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, especially among younger voters, provides a highly visible environment for candidates to promote themselves, interact with voters in fundamentally different ways than in previous elections, and enable users to interact with their peers about political issues. There are many social media sites where candidates can promote themselves. Facebook is one of the top used sites. In the 2008 election, Obama used Facebook to help build a following, especially among the site’s base of college students and people in their mid-twenties. His page had over 3 million supporters (Eldon, 2008). In contrast to other social networks, the site has always focused on getting real people to share real information and to use features like groups and events to organize real-world activities. Getting a user to share, comment and like the content flowing through the site is a huge victory (Vitak, 2011). Facebook could potentially help reach voters who don’t just rely on traditional print and TV outlets for information. Republican and Democratic presidential candidates utilized the site, maintaining pages that allowed users to post comments, share news and videos, and connect with other users (McGrath, 2011). Furthermore, Facebook members had access to various site features that allowed them to share their...
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