Social media influences presidential campaigns

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When Barack Obama was elected as the 42nd president of the United States, he beat out Sen. John McCain by nearly 10 million citizen votes and 192 electoral votes. The media coined Obama’s win a landslide.

What did President Obama have that McCain didn’t? It seemed that Obama was much more in-tune with his target audience, mainly by utilizing social media to enhance his campaign.

“I really believe that he was able to get the attention of young voters through social media,” Cody Bellemeyer, sophomore criminal justice major, said. “Through websites like Facebook and Twitter he was able to campaign to a very large audience in a very efficient way.”

With the 2012 election right around the corner, politicians are still present in social media, including Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Romney’s YouTube channel currently has +22k views, while President Obama’s has a heavy +229k.

Young American men and women are the most frequent users of social media, due to this they naturally are exposed to a large amount of presidential campaign information each and every day.

“There was a ton of Obama everywhere during the 2008 election,” Michelle Kern, junior visual arts major, said. “He popped up on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Even all over the magazines in El Salvador. All of his speeches and campaign slogans blew up the Internet. At the time, I did not know much about either politics or the social media, but what I did know is that I saw a trace of Obama everywhere and that was
his strategy.”

In 2012, Romney has utilized Twitter, Facebook and Youtube a considerable amount. Although Obama has about four times as many followers in all of the social networking websites, according to Forbes, Romney may have the upper hand:

“Facebook made a fundamental switch in the way it measures activity when it launched the People Talking About This (PTAT) score. PTAT is a measure of how many users are commenting, liking, or sharing content from their news feeds, thus creating amplification.

That amplification drives additional organic page growth, higher reach, and user actions. In July 2012, Obama had 1,209,452 Facebook users talking about him. That is a poor showing for a public figure with such a large following. On the other hand, Romney (and his much smaller audience) has a PTAT score of 992,000 people. Only 4 percent of Obama’s audience is interacting with his content, while 38 percent of Romney’s audience is interacting with his post on an average rolling daily basis.”

Whether students and teens plan on voting or not, the presidential campaigns are making headway all over the internet. Whomever preferred, Romney or Obama, Election Day is Nov. 6, 2012.

About Aarika Hernandez

Sports Editor

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