This year’s presidential campaign has been coined something of a “circus.” (And yes, I did leave out any direct reference to the presidential election in the header.) Antics on both sides have been started via social media or justly called out in the virtual space. But how important is it that social media has taken on this new, almost overpowering role?
While Cable TV news is undoubtedly the leading force in digital campaigning, SM is next in line. Broken down even farther reveals more:
Facebook and Twitter (sorry, YouTube – no time for you) have become the broader and increasingly easier places to consume news. In this case, political news. Twitter Trends, a constantly updating top ten of all related conversations occurring in the Twitter-sphere. It exists on the left-most portion of one’s Twitter feed. The screenshot of yellow #hashtags below is biased towards my location (Boston, MA) but ultimately reveals the high level Twitter trends seen globally. Facebook similarly rolled out its Trending section on the right side of its News Feed, going further in its breakdown of categories – one of which includes “Politics.”
If you’ve given even the slightest amount of attention to your social media feeds in the past few months it is almost certain you have found yourself influenced via the political campaigning, knowingly or not. It has been a constant torrent of articles, posts, Tweets, and cringeworthy .gifs – including this one from Ted Cruz’s recent dropout from the race:
Go ahead and watch that a few more times…
My thoughts on the evolution of political campaigning’s attention to social media have been confused. If you look at the polling turnout for different age demographics, the 18-29 age bracket has been faltering. While active online, only 45% of potential voters within this age actually went out to vote in the 2012 election. Ages 45+ average at almost 70% voter turnout.
So why is SM important if the younger people aren’t showing up?
In brief, because the youth is already outnumbered online. The web and social media is no longer “for the kid,” rather, it has quite thoroughly embedded itself into the lives of our parents and elders.
Above, it becomes more obvious why Facebook is dominating as influencer amongst the online political campaigns. Its largest portion of the user base is the 35-54 year old demographic, who just happens to also vote at or near the highest rate of all demographics.
Did you realize our age demographic’s true place in the online hierarchy?