Social Media and the Presidential Race

Ten republican hopefuls take the stage tonight for their first debate in New Hampshire. With the upcoming presidential election in mind, I decided to do a little social network research on Facebook. Here are a few things that I found.

1). Barack Obama has over 87,600 supporters on Facebook. He also has nine photos and some basic personal information posted on his profile. (education, personal interests, websites, etc.)

2). John McCain has over 3,000 supporters on Facebook. He also has basic personal information and 31 photos posted on his profile. He seems to use his profile more blatantly as a marketing tool than Barack Obama. For example, he has events posted for supporters to attend. Unlike Obama, Mccain’s profile isn’t written in first person so its easy to see that someone else is managing it for him.

3). There are tons of Anti-Hilary Clinton groups on Facebook, some with over 1,000 members. Also, Hilary Clinton does not have a profile on Facebook.

The Big Deal: Social media allows major political hopefuls a chance to position themselves to the public and those that usually don’t turn out to vote, such as college-aged individuals. By utilizing social media and engaging constituents, a candidate can entrench an image of themselves among hard-to-reach groups. Also, social media provides a cheap, easy method for unlikely candidates to gain exposure and momentum. I wouldn’t be surprised if all potential candidates utilize social media throughout their long-lasting campaigns.

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