The 57th United States Presidential Election will take place on November 6. The year before an election candidates campaign, raise money, get endorsements and debate other candidates in order to be nominated to represent their party. Heated debates over taxes, healthcare, the economy and even the religion of candidates are being highly publicized. The age of the Internet has seen an exponential increase of information, not withstanding political opinion pieces. It's easier than ever for anyone to voice his or her political opinions. When you want to cut through the clutter and understand the basics of what the candidates stand for, or simply find the social media portals to connect with the candidates and issues, it's essential to know where to find this information. This list contains a few of the prime places we've found to follow U.S. politics leading up to the election.
U.S. Politics on Facebook
“The U.S. Politics on Facebook page highlights the use of Facebook by politicians, elected officials, and political campaigns. The Page also shares tips and best practices as well as news from Facebook.” This page is the gateway to many political pages on Facebook. You might think of it as your one-stop-shop for an overview of what's happening in politics via the social media powerhouse. If you are looking for an overview and starting to follow politics via social media, this is a good place to start. You'll receive updates about candidates and campaigns and are able to easily link up with Facebook pages for the candidates, Congress and Government on Facebook, etc. It's a good place to start to discover pages to connect with that align with your political preferences.
CNN and Facebook “I'm Voting App”
CNN announced last month that they would be partnering with Facebook to provide “an interactive and uniquely social experience for CNN’s on-air, mobile and online audiences and Facebook’s more than 160 million U.S. users”. The partnership allows Facebook to act as a “second screen” for election coverage and includes Facebook surveys, metrics of the buzz on Facebook and the “I'm Voting” Facebook app, which is available now.
The “I'm Voting” app lets users make a commitment to vote (which can be shared with their friends on their Facebook page) and to choose the issues and candidates that matter most to them. Facebook lists the features of the app:
- The app is social by design, helping people see where their Facebook friends stand on certain issues. The Open Graph enabled app allows people to keep their views private or share with friends through Facebook Timeline, News Feed, and real-time Ticker.
- The app lets people see how many of their Facebook friends have joined them in supporting particular issues or candidates – and those commitments are displayed on an interactive map.
- The app, which is available on mobile and desktop devices, will serve as a “second screen” for CNN’s on-air and online content. CNN will utilize the app to ask Facebook users about the important issues driving the national dialogue, and then report on their answers.
- The app will be available in both English and Spanish in an effort to reach and engage a broad community.
The “I'm Voting” app will be a very important tool for anyone engaged with social media and politics.
U.S. 2012 Presidential Candidates on YouTube
If you like to see what the candidates have to say for themselves, you'll want to tune into the U.S. 2012 Presidential Candidates on YouTube. You can find a plethora of political videos and many helpful links as well. The channel provides “a comprehensive look at all the personalities and all the issues in the run up to the 2012 US Presidential Election”. You can also follow the action from their Twitter feed at @2012_President.
Facebook and CNN Election Insights
The collaboration between CNN and Facebook to bring us up-to-the-minute insights and election statistics continues with the Facebook and CNN Election Insight page. “There are as many active Facebook users in the U.S. as there are eligible voters.” The site shows us what they're saying about the biggest issues in the election. There are also interesting new stats such as who is being talked about most day to day on Facebook, as well as questions being asked to keep the conversations flowing.
It's wonderful when technology keeps up with our need for expression and knowledge. Times are changing and the way we share things has changed immensely, even since the last election. It will be interesting to follow not only the election on social media, but to follow the role social media play in the campaigning and election process.