Social Networking Begets Social Politicking
The Pew Internet and American Life Project found that in the midterm elections of 2010, political social media users skewed Republican (40 percent to 38 percent) and voted for Republican congressional candidates over Democratic candidates (45 percent to 41 percent).
BRANDON WAITE, The Bakersfield Californian, July 9, 2012
Savvy politicians and their advisers are often the first to take advantage of new technologies to convert followers into voters. In the 1930s and 1940s, it was radio. In the 1950s and 1960s, television took over. Now in 2012, we have social media, smartphones and tablets.
President Obama used social media in 2008 as a key method to develop a grass-roots effort to attract young voters. Through Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, the Democratic Party candidate was able to bring his message to millions of young people who are the first to embrace new technologies. Earlier this year, a study undertaken by researchers at Indiana's Ball State University found that smartphone ownership by college students has increased to 69 percent, up from 27 percent in 2009.
But young people aren't the only ones that politicians are focusing on for their new media efforts. The number of people using social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, has nearly doubled since 2008. Likewise, the population of social network users has gotten older, with more than half of them above the age of 35. And Americans are accessing these sites not only with smartphones but also with new tablets -- including Apple's iPad -- that have been best-sellers for the last year.
As these changes have occurred, the lead that Democrats once held in cyberspace has quickly diminished as research has found. The Pew Internet and American Life Project found that in the midterm elections of 2010, political social media users skewed Republican (40 percent to 38 percent) and voted for Republican congressional candidates over Democratic candidates (45 percent to 41 percent).
Candidates and interest groups on both sides of the partisan divide now spend a significant amount of time and money on integrating social media into their campaigns. To do so effectively, campaign managers will have to consider the ...http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/opinion/hot-topics/x1330931297/Soc...