Smartphones and Social Media Play Big Role in 2012 Presidential Election

Last updated: 20 March 2014

The 2012 U.S. Presidential Election is over, and President Barack Obama has been re-elected.  Whether you voted blue or red, one thing has become apparent after the election – your smartphone and social media will have played a big role.

Whilst we already looked at how different social media tactics might shape the election result, how exactly did smartphones make an impact on the 2012 election?  For one, they made it easy for savvy users to donate money quickly to the election, and to the spread the word via social media.  Darcy Wedd, president of a company called Payvia that provides the technology for users to make fast campaign contributions, told Computerworld last week, “Mobile computing really did make a difference in the presidential election…  Obama already had a captive audience, and you’d see him tweeting supporters to contribute $10, and then have celebrities and athletes retweeting that contribution request.”

An example of this in action: President Obama would tweet asking for a fast contribution of 10 dollars.  His audience would retweet this, spreading the word to all of their followers. His supporters could then contribute 10 dollars via smartphone with only a click of a button.  Because the President has such a large following of the young voters that use smartphones and tablets the most (most exit polls show Obama won 60% of the voters aged 18 to 29), it makes sense that this may have helped his victory.

But, aside from donations, it’s interesting to look at social media participation surrounding the election in general.  As of election night, President Obama had 32 million Facebook fans, 21 million Twitter followers, and 259,685 YouTube views.  Mitt Romney, on the other hand, had 12 million Facebook fans, 1.7 million Twitter followers, and 29,172 YouTube views.

One of the conclusions one could draw from these numbers is the Obama campaign made social media a bigger priority in their overall re-election strategy. However, it is also fair to say that, as the incumbent, Mr Obama had quite a headstart on his rival in this department.  It’s unclear exactly how much this contributed to the overall outcome of the election.  What is clear is that in a tight race, every little bit helps — and the power of a strong social media presence cannot be denied.

What do you think – do you think that our presidential hopefuls should be building their strategies to include our new generation full smartphones, tablets and social media?  Share your thoughts with us!

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