by Jennifer Glose, Business Manager
“Four More Years” tweeted its way across the globe last Tuesday night and became the most re-tweeted tweet in the history of Twitter.
After U.S. President Barack Obama declared re-election victory over Mitt Romney in the presidential election, he turned to Twitter as his first means of communication. Accompanying his tweet was a picture of him and his wife embracing in victory. Within only two hours, 414,520 people re-tweeted this same message. This is a prime example of the powerful and instantaneous effects of social media.
In 2008 the Obama campaign was considered one of the first to successfully develop a social media plan in a presidential election. In just four short years since then, social media has taken politics by storm. YouTube and Tumblr, two other popular social media sites, were also flooded with many views on the election.
“Social media influenced this election in a major way, which I thought was a good thing. We are in a world where social media is the top choice of getting things out there,” expressed Shamara Rhodes, senior criminal justice major and Student Government Association president.
She continued, “The only downside is that many young followers get persuaded very easily by their idol and are not developing their own opinion and doing their research. So, for 2016 everyone make sure you do your own research of all the candidates and pick based on who you believe would do this country justice.”
Some news organizations developed discussion forums on their websites so that citizens could chime in with their thoughts and opinions. Most news media sites are also linked to Facebook and Twitter. News networks kept hashtags, a number sign followed by a keyword or topic contained in a tweet, rolling on the bottom of their screens throughout the election. Many news outlets utilized these trending topics to help most effectively construct their coverage of the election.
Khyla Flores, a first year adjunct professor of communications at Cedar Crest, offered her thoughts on the impact of the social media.
“I wouldn’t say that the increase of the use of social media has neither a positive nor a negative impact on the election, but more so allows for ‘real-time’ discussions globally on the thoughts/feelings/emotions of potential voters,” Flores said.
“The increase of the flow of information allows many people, including undecided voters, to get opinions or their news from not only news channels, but from citizen journalists using their social media accounts to spread ideas,” Flores continued.
Big Bird even appeared on social media as a result of a controversial comment that Romney made in one of the presidential debates. First Lady Michelle Obama appeared in a trending tweet regarding the fact that she wore the same dress on election night in 2009 and 2010.
So, whether it is Big Bird or the fashion police, social media has played a significant role in allowing voters to express their views and ideas in the 2012 Presidential Election. Citizens now have a powerful tool – social media – which allows them to persuade the construction of the news and of the political world. Look out 2016.