Many voters were attached at the hip to Election 2012. According to Pew, 27% of registered voters say they used their cell phone during the 2012 campaign to keep up with election or political news. Liberals (37%) were more attached than Moderates (28%) or Conservatives (25%). On Election Night, 27% of those who watched the results used both their television and a computer or mobile device to “dual-screen” the event. Among the 13% of adults who report contributing to a presidential campaign, 10% did so through texts or mobile apps, an increasingly popular, and lucrative, means of collecting donations.
More people getting on board the social media boat led to political action on social media websites according to Pew Internet’s analysis of the 2012 election cycle. Of registered voters, 22% report sharing their vote for president on social media. Thirty-eight percent of social network users say they “like” or promote posts from others about political or social issues, 35% have used social networks to encourage others to vote, 34% have posted their own thoughts on political or social issues, and 20% have used social networks to follow elected officials and candidates. Of those users whose friends post political content, 25% report always or mostly agreeing, while 73% sometimes or never agree. Nine percent have gone so far as to block, unfriend, or hide someone because they posted something about politics or issues they found offensive or disagreed with. Social networking sites also helped users learn more about their friends’ political beliefs as 38% report discovering their friends’ beliefs were different than they though. Expect to see more campaigns taking advantage of this social political involvement in the future.
As Pew Internet reports following the election, the growth of social media changed the way Americans engage in the political process this year. More than two-thirds (69%) of online U.S. adults use social networks, nearly double the share, 37%, who said the same around Election 2008. Sixty-six percent of adults use Facebook, while Twitter has grown to a 16% share. Liberals and the young tend to use these social media tools more often. Seventy-nine percent of Liberals use social media relative to 63% of Conservatives and 70% of Moderates. A massive 92% of 18-29 year olds use social media, steadily declining by age group to 38% of 65+. On Twitter specifically, 25% of Liberals are active, more than the 10% of Conservatives and 16% of Moderates. One third (32%) of the youngest age bracket tweet, while only 4% of seniors do. The prevalence of social networks in politics and campaigns will only continue to grow and almost certainly play an even more central role in 2016.
Cell phones with immediate data access through apps, web browsers, and social networks are creating a new culture of real-time information seekers and problem solvers. According to a Pew Internet & American Life Project survey, 70% of cell phone owners and 86% of smartphone owners have done at least one of the following using their phone in a month: Coordinated a meeting or get-together (41%), solved an unexpected problem (35%), decided whether to visit a business (30%), found information to help settle an argument (27%), looked up the score of a sporting event (23%), got up-to-the-minute traffic or public transit information (20%), or got help in an emergency situation (19%). Overall, these “just-in-time” cell phone and smartphone users make up 62% of the adult population. People no longer want to search around for the information they are looking for. Make sure they can find what they want quickly and easily through your social networks and mobile friendly website.
This election season 55% of registered voters watched political videos online, according to a Pew Internet & American Life Project survey. Forty-eight percent reported watching news videos about the election or politics, followed by 40% watching previously recorded videos of speeches, press conferences, and debates, 39% watching informational videos that explain a political issue, 37% watching parody videos dealing with political issues, 36% watching political ads online, and 28% watching live videos of speeches, press conferences, and debates. Social networking sites also aided in the sharing of videos, with 52% of registered voters reporting than others recommended political online videos to watch and 19% having recommended political online videos for others to watch. Sharing online videos with the right audience can be a great way to spread your message and inform people on political issues.