This essay will explore the effect of social media during campaigning. It will explore how candidates can interact with voters and how voters can interact with each other. It will discuss the three main social media sites Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and how they all have a different way of communication. Also it will discuss the different techniques candidates take to portray themselves as a friend and a person who understands the voter’s issues. This essay will explore the techniques used to capture voter’s attention and the process it takes to reach Americans to get them to vote.
The Effect of Social Media on the Process of Campaigning
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 political views and interact with others on the site, including both their ‘‘friends’’ on the site, as well as other users to whom they connected with through shared use of political groups and pages (Vitak 2011). Twitter is another main social networking site that many people use. Twitter users have multiplied by more than 10 since the 2008 election (Dorsch, 2012). Twitter gives candidates the opportunity to disseminate information. “WE JUST made history”, tweeted Barack Obama shortly after claiming victory in the 2008 U.S Presidential election (Eldon 2008). Obama found a way to communicate with the younger crowd prior to the 2008 election. Doing so, he left a footprint in politics. The Obama campaign and Democrats used online and social media tools effectively during the 2008 presidential election, although many were still relatively unpopular. Many people believe that is why there was a surge in Republicans adopting things, like Twitter, after 2008 because of how effective the Obama campaign had been (Dorsch, 2012). Obama and Romney in the 2012 election both used Twitter to solicit donations, post updates about their travels, and talk about their private lives (Aldhous, 2012). YouTube is a site focused on videos. With more than 81 million unique viewers a month and 13 hours worth of...
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