Xxxvi) Politics

- as politicians are in the communications & engagement business, social media is important. Social media allows politicians to better handle mainstream media (including by-passing them and going directly to the voters). Often now mainstream media is reporting what is happening on social media

in the US Presidential election (2012), social media was used to engage and organise supporters, raise funds & shape the political conversations. But social media cannot necessarily change votes.

As social media is not expected to change votes, in 2012 Obama's team focused on encouraging Democrats to vote (in USA, voting is voluntary). They used software (VoteBuilder) to locate likely Democrat voters & would contact them. Thus voting intentions can be determined by simple criteria: using data bases & weighted in an algorithms.

Some statistics for Barak Obama (2012),his Facebook fans grew from to 34 m in 2012 from 15+m in 2008; his Twitter followers to 23 m from 16+m in 2008); online money raised to $US 690 m from $US 190 m in 2008)

Of interest is who voted for Obama in 2012, ie

- 55% of women voters (more women vote than men)

- 75% of Hispanic voters

- 73% of Asian voters

- 60% of voters under 30 years

(NB the group that preferred Romney was older, white males)

The Australian context

- around 2/3 of federal politicians have accounts on Twitter/Facebook

- about 40% have YouTube channels.

- Kevin Rudd has 1.1 m Twitter followers & spends an hour per day on Twitter.


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