Social media giants Twitter and Facebook will work to mobilize millions of voters today

Posted on November 2, 2010


Voting day, a big day for the country. Its been 2 years since the presidential election and  the use of social media in massive scale to help get the word out to voters. The results of the impact of social media in that election were impressive and, to the opponent, somewhat unexpected.

Today voters get another chance to use their constitutional rights to enact change. So how will social media impact today’s results? We will have to wait until tomorrow to see, however, Twitter and Facebook are ready for the onslaught of messaging that will take place.

It is also interesting to note, and unmeasurable at this point, how much a mobile device will play in todays various elections. Keep in mind that the number one use of a mobile phone is, well, to talk to someone else. think about all the calls that will take place between family, friends and acquaintances (or call lists). How about the texting and Tweeting and Facebook entries that will occur when one gets out of the voting booth. We truly do live in a technological transformative time.

(NYT) Facebook, the largest online social network in the world, will put a call to hit the polls at the top of millions of users’ Facebook pages today and will attempt to help them find the nearest polling station.

Facebook told press yesterday that the company will provide an official app on the site that locates the nearest polling place, badges that users can push out to their friends’ newsfeeds to show that they have voted and live streaming video coverage of early results starting at 4 p.m. Pacific. As one of the fastest-growing communication channels in history, Facebook could shake things up tomorrow on election day.

If the Facebook Newsfeed reaches a substantial portion of non-voters, that could have a political impact. According to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, typical turnout for midterm elections is around 40%. “Organizing orthodoxy tells us that the best way to get someone to vote is through personal contact — ie. pressure from friends, family, and coworkers…

The digital advantage is that we can digitally surround a non-voter with his/her personal online network much faster and in a much louder way online then we ever could before through phone calls and door-knocks to encourage him/her to get to the polls. Better yet, we can surround that person online with people who matter — versus community members (in the best case) and out-of-town volunteers (in the worse case) who that potential voter may have never met.

What do you think; can Facebook move the needle in a midterm election? If it does, will it move things to the Left?

Twitter’s Plans

Twitter just announced its plans for election day as well, though they appear focused more on working with other more established media outlets than on producing original content and calls to action. That’s typical of Twitter, compared to Facebook.

CNN will be performing bulk analysis of sentiment across Tweets, but perhaps most interesting is the Washington Post’s plan. From the Twitter blog:

The @WashingtonPost will make news themselves tomorrow as the first news organization to sponsor a Promoted Trend on Twitter. Track #Election to get breaking news on race results, help monitor polling places and follow the Post’s election coverage, just one click from the Twitter home page.



Posted in: Facebook, Twitter