The last social media election? Doubt it.

A few days ago, Paul Sloan, executive editor at CNET, wrote an article proclaiming 2012 as history’s last “social media election.” He argues that because social media will no longer be a novelty in elections to come, traditional media outlets won’t make as big of a deal about the opinions of Twitter followers or Facebook users.

We can only hope that’s true. I think we’ve all had enough of major cable news outlets quoting @JoeMusicMaster, @dogboner and others as sources (see the video below), so the faster networks lose interest in social media trends, the better.

But is it fair to say this will be the last social media election? Not exactly.

And I think Sloan himself would agree with that statement. He goes on to qualify his headline, adding that social media played a huge role in this election, and it will likely continue to do so. Twitter was helpful for candidates in their public relations efforts, raising donations and increasing voter turnout. Even celebrities got involved – everyone from Donald Trump to Justin Bieber had something to say, and they took to Twitter to say it.

Anyone who’s on Twitter knows how fast comments by presidential candidates went viral this election. Hashtags like #BigBird, #horsesandbayonets, and #bindersfullofwomen became trending topics in minutes.

And the photo above, posted to President Obama’s social media accounts after he won the election, became the most popular message on Twitter ever, according to CNN.

So if I were writing Sloan’s story, I might put that qualifier in the headline: 2012 may (hopefully) be one of the last times social media trends make it into election news coverage, but it is definitely NOT the last social media election.

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or some new platform that’s not even in beta yet, social media has won the popular vote for good.

What are your thoughts on how social media has changed our election process? Tell me in the comments!

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About Tara Knott

Tara is a staff associate at McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations. She recently graduated summa cum laude from Belmont University, where she studied journalism and public relations.

Posted on November 12, 2012, in Social Media and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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