There’s no question about it, social media is here to stay. From raising money for disaster-stricken countries to being a forum for celebrity gossip, there is no space social media has yet to invade – including the 2012 presidential campaign.
An early adopter, Barack Obama set a precedent in 2008 for effectively using social media to engage constituents and build support. Now, social media giants Twitter and Google, are jumping on the political bandwagon.
Just in time for the Iowa caucus, Google launched a hub for the 2012 election that tracks the popularity of presidential candidates using search trends, mentions in Google News and YouTube views. Google.com/Elections organizes candidate information in a centralized dashboard and gives users the chance to weigh in on the candidates and the issues.
“We're launching an election hub where citizens can study, watch, discuss, learn about, participate in and perhaps even make an impact on the digital campaign trail as it blazes forward to Tuesday, November 6, 2012 and the election of the next President of the United States,” a Google spokesperson wrote in a statement.
Launching the same day and using Twitter as its aggregating platform, The Washington Post unveiled a new Twitter application, @MentionMachine. Like Google, the app monitors candidate’s mentions in the media and across the web revealing which candidates are being talked about most and where and displaying the most popular stories and tweets. The app is anticipated to be a good indicator of public sentiment amongst candidates.
Cory Haik, executive producer for news innovation and strategic projects for The Washington Post, says the app has the potential to be “an early indicator well ahead of polls or other traditional campaign measures.”
Only time will tell whether the new Google and Twitter data crunchers will influence election outcomes but, you can bet we will be watching. Will you look to these platforms for up-to-the-minute information on the candidates? Leave your comments below.