As citizens have embraced social media en masse, so too have political candidates, news outlets and local governments. In Washington State and Nevada, residents can even register to vote on Facebook. Social media has left its humble beginnings behind and taken center stage in one of the most important processes in American government and culture. In a more general sense, the election process has been affected by technology since its emergence. Whether it was the direct-recording electronic voting machine, the first televised presidential debate, or the use of iPads to help disabled citizens in Oregon vote, technology made it happen. The history of technology in our democratic process is rich, and social media is the newest chapter. We took a look at how candidates’ audiences on Twitter and Facebook correlated with the outcome of an election. The data is substantial and it suggests that candidates should make an effort to engage with voters through social media websites. Social media is changing the way we interact and communicate with one other and with our leaders.
So what impact will social media have on the presidential election? We’ll let the data do the talking.
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