Thursday, November 15, 2012 - Election Social Media Reaction

By: Rob Schreier

Traditional avenues of post election polling make way: major news networks are turning to social media venues in order to gather their audience's thoughts about the candidates on election night.

Despite Barack Obama's re-election over a week ago, the social media guage, posted below, is an innovate way to articulate the public feelings and topics of discussion on both Facebook and Twitter.

Remains included on front page of NBC Politics main webpage, 8 days after conclusion of election (Courtesy:
Numbers Never Lie

There are several ways to dive into the numbers, but one has to start with the overall metrics before navigating to the percentages and ratios.

Of the social media posts monitored, over 97 percent came from Twitter compared to Facebook. As Twitter has become more and more popular, especially with live coverage of events, it has surpassed Facebook in terms of "updating status." This serves as more evidence that Facebook is, and must continue to, present other avenues of communication other than text elements to create interaction.

President Obama was also mentioned in nearly 10,000 more tweets than Romney, making the Democratic incumbent clearly more popular on the social media platforms. Democratic voters, which has shown to grab the youth vote, is evidence in that statistic alone.

The most dramatic spikes on the time graph to the right of the data collection represented the three debates and election night itself, said to be the most active night in US political history. It is interesting to note in a graphical form the concentration of social media conversation/observation during this anticipated political race created.

Lighten Up

More tweets entering the fold were of negative tone or light, regardless of candidate.

Additionally, the specific topics of talk are aimed at personal attacked, highlighted by Romeny's Mormon beliefs. But, Barack did not escape either. Labeling the President as "corrupt/autocratic" seems a popular choice post election. But, back to Romney, he seems "out of touch" according to those monitored by the NBC poll.

This election was often described as picking from the lesser of two evils, and the findings from this indeed prove that notion. 

Future in Mind

The social media postings also seem to highlight actions from President Obama to tackle in his first days in office, including: Gas prices, fixing the economy, and health care.

Economy is #1 (Courtesy:
Especially from the point of view from the President, these actions were aimed at the individual level from the social media users. But, these issues were the most important heading into the election (with the economy being the primary front runner).

When the individual joins with the masses and shares a voice, many went to their computers or mobile devices and joined the social media party while devouring election coverage.

As the dust settles, NBC dug deeper to further investigate a fascinating aspect of journalism that continues to rapidly unfold. 

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