The statement to US presidential candidate that ‘social media can make you or break you’ would not be an exaggeration considering the power of social media to influence people. Role of social media in Middle East up-rise is a living example of ability of social media to mobilize masses in a particular direction. The ability to connect and share ideas is exponentially greater now than in the eras dominated by telephones, television, or print media.
Social media was first used in 2008 presidential election, where candidates launched entirely new type of campaigns to reach to masses through Twitter, Blogs, Google+ etc. Social media was used by Barak Obama to make tagline ‘yes we can’ go viral among the voters. And its effect was dramatic during 2008 presidential elections.
Considering the fact that percentage of internet users using social media has doubled since 2008, it can become a powerful for candidates to shift public opinion. They can use engagement tools to share their messages and interact directly with voters. People generally look online for advice on what to eat, wear, watch, and who and what to vote for. Suggestions by Facebook friends’ matter far more than a TV commercial or newspaper editorial.
Not only can social media influence outcome of the elections, but its vast stores of data can be analyzed to look at where the things are headed.
Share of online buzz for a candidate may represent his chance of winning the election. Analysis of data of few previous days tells that Barack Obama is the most talked about presidential candidate as shown in above graphs. But people talk mostly neutral thing about him. While Jim Rogers comes second in share of voice, Randall terry is the most positively talked about candidate. But larger question remains whether social metrics can predict the outcome of US Presidential election 2012.