The 2008 Presidential Race marked a turning point in American politics, being that it was the first political election that truly embraced social media. Both Barack Obama and John McCain garnered fans on Facebook or friends on Myspace and used Youtube as a new medium for communication. Even passionate voters, such as the Obama Girl, got involved.
Fast forward two years into the future, and the Midterm elections further demonstrated why social media is evolving the way Americans vote, among other things. While sites such as Myspace cease to be relevant, others, including Facebook and Foursquare remind us that we may be a more “United” States than we think. In about three-fourths of these government races, the winner happened to have more Facebook fans. 12 million Facebook users received an ‘I VOTED’ badge, more than twice as much as the 5.4 million who received badges in 2008. Similarly, Foursquare issued badges to users for voting at particular polling sites.
Twitter remains as an invaluable realtime tool whether it be for following a political event or tracking a musical star. In order to win a community, it is important to converse with one.
While this does not mean more people are voting, Internet activity has shown that it attracts a following for the future. Compared to the 4.3 million people viewing news websites on the Tuesday night Barack Obama was elected, web traffic for the 2010 midterm elections topped off at close to 5.7 million pages per minute. The 2012 Presidential Election may prove this point even further.