Dec 29, 2011
CNET’s Rafe Needlemen has written a post forecasting what’s to come for social media in ’12. Among some excellent insight into the maturing mobile space and it’s impact on social media networks and some deliberation on this year’s IPO, Rafe hits on a point about the impact of social media on the 2012 Presidential Elections.It’s early for politics, but the last presidential election happened just as social media was getting widespread traction. Today, over 65% of adults, or a majority of “The People” are on Facebook and other social media networks. The campaign polls of only a few years ago are replaced by real-time feedback based on Facebook “likes”, website data, and online polling. The role that social media is going to play in the shaping of this political campaign cannot be underestimated. This is good and bad: The transparency and accessibility of social media makes it attractive to a new generation of voters. The widespread miss-information (and savvy of campaigns using these techniques) is a challenge for those seeking real platform information on candidates. Both parties are looking to win new voters and keep constituents with use of this still new medium.
The use of social media does not stop on Facebook. Look for campaigns that smartly deploy #hashtags in their television and print campaigns. Hashtags are search tags used to help those multi-tasking viewers participate in conversations happening on Twitter and other social networks while they watch television or listen to live broadcasts. These tags (#glee #superbowl, #egypt, etc) help group people, messages, and topics in a busy stream of information. The effect is like creating a channel to follow-along with interactively and participate along with an event or program. The Washington Post has already published a guide for Hashtags Guide for the 2012 Elections to help users, and political groups arrange their media programs.
2012 should bring new campaigns in social media and also many more users for the big networks like Facebook and Twitter. It’s very promising for those new to this kind of truly interactive media and I hope it brings mainstream adoption of social media as a way for politicians to truly gain insight about their audience’s needs and wants.