Social media & the presidential election - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Social media & the presidential election

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It's now the most tweeted event in US political history.  There were 10.3 million tweets during the presidential debate in just 90 minutes.  

Just how important is social media to this presidential election?  Social media posts might hold more weight than you might think.  Rice University Political Science professor Mark Jones just completed a study on how social media is being used in Texas politics.

"What we found is the most conservative republicans made the greatest use of social media," Jones said.  "Ted Cruz had a very active social media component to his campaign, whereas David Dewhurst was really lacking in that respect."

And we know how that race ended.

"Ted Cruz effectively used blogs, Facebook and Twitter to contact voters and convinced them to vote for him and to actually get them to turn out on Election Day," Jones said.

Just when you thought you had a lot of Twitter followers, guess how many President Obama has?  More than 20 million.  Mitt Romney?  More than one million.  As for Facebook, the president has more than 29 million friends and Romney more than eight million.  Jones said Obama supporters focus on the candidate and Romney followers tend to support the conservative movement.

"I think the place where social media will play the greatest role in this campaign is in mobilization efforts by the campaigns to get supporters out to vote in the key swing states," Jones said.  

He said political campaigns are keeping a close eye on what's being said on social media sites and making necessary adjustments.

Once upon a time, the morning after a presidential pow-wow, anxious watchers would gather with others first thing in the morning to debate the debate.  Now, there's no waiting necessary.  We caught up with a bunch of folks at River Oaks Coffee House who already had their fair share of discussing the debate online.  Tweets and Facebook posts were being fired off during the presidential debate in record numbers per second.

"I do post political things, but they're mostly humorous.  You know, like wearing an Occupy Sesame Street shirt," one coffee house patron said, laughing as she perused Facebook posts from her laptop.
"I reserve Facebook to try to be clever and not to try to choose a political stance.  I prefer, ‘Hey, I'm at lunch or another one of those Mondays'," a man said, laughing with his laptop open on the table in front of him.

I want to hear what you have to say about the debate.  Tweet me @DamaliKeithFox, use #Fox26forlife.

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