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Social Media and the Political Conventions

Well, the good news is that the conventions of the two main political parties in the United States signals the beginning of the end of the increasingly lengthy election season (seriously, folks, can’t we switch to a system like the UK where the election season is only allowed to last for six weeks?).

The bad news is, of course, that the intensity of the hyperbole will only increase exponentianally until after the election is over.

Now I’m not going to talk about politics here (don’t worry: there are plenty of other places where you can, in fact, find me talking about politics); instead, I’m going to discuss the increasing role that social media is playing in this election cycle.

Interestingly enough, many are touting this year as the first real “social media” party conventions. A Newsday editorial talks about how more bloggers and others will be attending the RNC this year:

The GOP says 15,000 journalists are coming to Tampa. That’s more than triple the 4,411 Republican delegates and alternates. Many of the newspeople are mainstream media. But a number are lone wolves with iPhones and laptops, hoping to make a name for themselves by posting something newsworthy, sexy or scandalous on their blogs or Twitter accounts.

If you’re wondering how to follow along, CNN has helpfully compiled a social media guide to the conventions, saying:

The election of 2012 may well be the first truly social election in U.S. political history with voters’ voices heard across the internet well before they enter the voting booth. As a result, the national conversation will play a bigger role than ever in the way news organizations such as CNN cover the story.

It’s interesting to observe this idea that this will be the “first” social media conventions; as an early adopter of all things social media, I feel like social media has been playing a role in the last couple of national conventions and election cycles. Much like the fluttering of hands about this being the first social media Olympics, I feel like we’ve been playing along all the while.

Interesting, though. That CNN guide will come in handy.

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