Social media bring political information

Twitter has reached upwards of 500 million registered users this year and is gaining followers daily. According to www.mediabistro.com, 53 percent of Twitter users have been a member for less than a year, compared to Facebook at 19 percent. HUNTER PARAMORE | Scroll Illustration

In a style reminiscent of nearly 50 years ago, the media has once again made history in America. #Ifyouknowwhatimean.
USA Today reported that this election’s first of three presidential debates became the most tweeted event in history, accumulating over 10.3 million tweets during the 90-minute debate.
Quips about Big Bird, Obama’s anniversary and an abused moderator tweeted across the screen as one event broadcaster, social media big-wig YouTube, aired the event. At its peak, Twitter received 158,690 tweets per minute.
The rise in social media is becoming ever more prevalent in our society today, and the country must face the fact that its future is in the hands of smartphone-users everywhere.
Though news about current polls, breaking news and election coverage is as accessible as the speed of your 4G network, the media, heralded by some as “spin-doctors” have been influencing the nation’s voters for years.
Let’s turn to history for a lesson.
The presidential election of 1960 marked the first televised presidential debate, ultimately impacting the way Americans voted at the polls. For the first time in history, the Jones family could sit on their plastic-covered couch and watch Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy duke out the issues of the day, unscripted.
What was interesting about the results of this debate is the response from TV-viewers from coast to coast. Those listening to the debate on the radio were sure that Nixon was the clear winner. However, it was a different story for those who tuned in to the tube.
For the first time, America got to see a calm, collected, clean-cut Kennedy, compared to a sick and sweaty Nixon. TV-viewers claimed Kennedy was the clear winner.
Kennedy,  who was initially trailing behind Nixon, rose in the polls following the first debate, and went on to win the election by .16 percent.
Sure, social media has been around for years. Sure, news conglomerates like Fox and MSNBC continue to inform the nation of each candidate with tales of heroism or tyranny, depending on how far right or left they lean.
The media has come a long way since the ‘60s, and now voters can tweet, blog, Facebook, or Instagram their opinion in less than five seconds.
In the 2008 election, there were 1.8 million tweets on election day, according to the San Francisco Gate. Currently, that’s the number of tweets sent every
six minutes.
Both candidates have a presence on Twitter where followers can read snippets of campaign speeches, policies and procedures.
It’s no doubt that the rise of social media will affect the outcome of the 2012 election.
What’s different for this election is simply this: more Americans have found a venue for their voice. And with that voice, the nation could be on the brink of something bigger than the #savebigbird movement: The social media election.
Simply stated, our next president has Twitter and Facebook to thank.

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