Commentary | Nov 7, 2012 | 3 Comments

Politics and social media

I made the mistake of being political on Facebook during this election season. I don’t believe I convinced anybody to change their minds. What about you?

Replacing traditional media as the source for election news?

A November 5 article from PR News Channel made interesting, and possibly alarming, points:

Years ago, it was newspapers that most impacted the race. Then came radio and television and clearly now it is social media’s turn to influence voters…“Public relations has changed and presidential politics has changed–I believe forever,” says [Glenn] Selig [founder of PR NewsChannel]. “There are so many people who get their news online where it’s more difficult to discern the source of information. That creates interesting opportunites for both businesses and politicians.”

I cut and pasted the quote so I left the typo in for you. Anyway, “interesting opportunites” could mean more chances for misinformation. Do you agree?

Making noise, and not making a difference?

The Pew Internet & American Life Project recently published statistics from a survey on Social Media and Voting. These were the key findings:

Adweek recently posted a quick review of the Pew study. I think the title is telling: “Voters Take to Social Media to Influence Election, Impact on Final Vote Unknown.” This is my favorite bit:

Whether or not the social media game will make a difference or whether it adds up to just a lot of noise is anybody’s guess, but there will surely be plenty of stats for analysts to chew over in the days to come.




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Author: Claire Wagner

I'm a seasoned freelance writer/editor and an enthusiastic community manager. I'm passionate about developing and sharing good content.


Hi Claire,

Great thought provoking post!

I do think one needs to be cautious when sharing controversial topics online because that sharing can sometimes be linked to you for a long time to come–even after you’ve changed your mind.

As far as the sharing changing anyone’s mind, the sort of sharing that I saw was mostly memes and rehashed stereotypes. Like you, I think those are unlikely to change anyone’s mind.

But I do believe that words are still powerful. I think a well-reasoned argument could make a difference for someone. I just didn’t happen to see many of those.


Claire Wagner Reply:

I have only seen one extended debate on Facebook that prompted me to consider changing my view on something, and that was a long time ago. I think a lot of participation on Facebook just fed into, and was fed by, the general fear and negativity of the election.


Laura Spencer


Interesting indeed!

I for one really prefer keeping away from all kind of controversial topics. And if it’s politics – it’s always a no – no. 🙂

I guess that’s because each one will have their own view point about it and would want to be heard about it too. More over, places like Facebook and Twitter spread the word and it tends to get viral in no time at all.

Thanks for sharing. 🙂


Harleena Singh


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