We have seen the vibrant role of Social Media in recent Arab Spring where youth activists used it as a way of spreading their messages quickly and somehow secretly to a large number of audiences. Since then, Social Media has assumed significant importance among political players all over the World and most of them are now using Twitter and other Social Media in their “Digital Media & Communication Strategy” trying to curry favor of voters and general public.
After analyzing their activities on the New Media space, experts have highlighted the prime purpose of Twitter and other Social Media channels. These are as follows:
- Energize supporters
- Raise funds
- Saves cost
- An effective controlled and centralized Election Campaign
- Shift the focus of public debate in less time and effort
- Target key groups of voters
A serious debate in media is in the air regarding the increasingly powerful role of Social Media, expected to influence the upcoming 2012 US Presidential Election as two major candidates Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Barrack Hussein Obama are using Twitter actively as a strategy to reach out to youth. By virtue of this internet-based campaign, the election in November may come to be known the first time in the history as First American “Social Election”. It also raises an important question “Will tweets mark the difference in 2012 US Presidential Election?”
A famous Social Media Consultant Zach Green, keeping up an eye on this poll, answers that:
“Twitter has the potential to sway the national narrative, because Twitter democratizes the delivery of information. Tweets can help a candidate by getting out a message that might not be seen on traditional media like newspapers and television. Twitter is a way of injecting a message into the national conversation; before anyone writes the story you can get your side out there. You can also go around the national discussion because Twitter allows candidates to reach their constituencies without a gatekeeper.”
Zach Green’s says Obama tweets 10 times more often as Romney, and gets supplemental support on Twitter from his campaign. But he says Romney’s tweets are more often shared and retweeted, suggesting his (Romney) supporters are more “engaged”. He also points out that President Barrack Obama has a gigantic head start on his Republican rival Mitt Romney on Twitter. The incumbent has some 18.7 million Twitter followers (which experts term as Social Media Capital) to fewer than 900,000 for Romney.
Both key US political figures may be at cross-purposes on many domestic and international affairs but at one point their agreement is above board that war at Twitter is now the backbone of their election campaign that can be used to change circumstances in their favor by and large.
Now, can this Social Media Capital (mostly consisting of youth), also regarded as the new major carrier of news and the so-called “national conversation” these days, be a game-changer and able to mark a significant impression over voting trend?
Can electoral Twitter campaign of a candidate bring those people out to cast their votes that generally sit on the fence and show cold comfort in elections?
Do more tweets and having fans in Social Media, as a matter of fact, have enough worth that can become a deciding factor in this high profile Election?
Which candidate can successfully cash on his Social Media popularity in Election?
Despite the soul searching for Social Media by Political experts, the Election Result will answer only, which candidate will carry the day finally and whether the role of Social Media could be determined as one of a game-changer or of just a regular social media website?