Social Media and Politics

October 12, 2012 • Volume 22, Issue 36
Do Facebook and Twitter influence voters?
By Tom Price


President Obama takes social media campaigning to a new level (Redditt)
President Obama takes social media campaigning to a new level, answering questions on reddit during the Republican National Convention on Aug. 29. The half-hour live session, designed to draw attention away from his rival party's big event, generated 5,266 queries and comments. By Aug. 31, the discussion had logged nearly 5.3 million page views and netted Obama 10,000 potential volunteers. (Redditt)

Social media, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, have become major battlegrounds in this year's elections. Candidates are using the platforms to identify and organize supporters and raise funds. They bypass traditional news media to send their messages unfiltered to the public. They target niche audiences with growing precision, contact hard-to-reach voters, extend their influence as online supporters forward their messages and carry out many campaign tasks at much lower cost than before. The increasing ability of campaign strategists to collect and analyze information about individual voters has raised privacy concerns, and many worry that the social networks' insular nature contributes to political polarization. But social media's low cost, ease of use and wide reach also raise hopes that they can level the campaign-spending playing field.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Aug. 02, 2019  The 5G Revolution
Oct. 12, 2012  Social Media and Politics
Mar. 16, 2001  Cell Phone Safety
Apr. 23, 1999  The Future of Telecommunications
Dec. 04, 1987  Broadcasting Deregulation
Dec. 16, 1983  Breaking Up AT&T
Feb. 04, 1983  Telecommunications in the Eighties
Sep. 27, 1961  Space Communications
Feb. 16, 1949  Telephone Monopoly
Mar. 23, 1944  Freedom of Communications
Feb. 15, 1930  Communications: Unification and Regulation
Campaigns and Elections