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Social Media and Politics: Facebook Could Influence the Presidential Election

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On Wednesday, Facebook announced that users can now share that they are registered to vote on their timelines. Will the natural pairing of social media and politics provide an opportunity for users to swing the results of the presidential election this November?

According to Mashable yesterday, politics are social, and using Facebook to discuss politics is nothing new. Yesterday’s announcement simply means that users can share something they can agree about, that voting is a privilege all of us should be taking advantage of. The article didn’t state whether users would identify their party. It may not matter. Just increasing the voter turnout could have significant impact on the outcome of the election.

According to a study cited by Sebastian Bailey of Forbes, a Facebook message resulted in 340,000 extra votes during the 2010 congressional elections. When users saw pictures of their friends listed as people who voted, they were more inclined to follow the social imperative and vote. In this year’s close, heated race, this kind of impact could make all the difference.

It wouldn’t be the first time that social media and politics came together to start a movement. Earlier this year, outrage by Facebook and Twitter users caused charity giant Susan G. Komen to reverse the decision to revoke funds from Planned Parenthood. Multiple news sources confirmed at the time that social media activity was the driving force behind Komen’s decision, as well as the resignation of Karen Handel, Senior Vice President of Susan G. Komen.

Not only can you post about your voter registration status, you can also post that you’re an organ donor. It would be interesting to see if this has increased the incidence of people becoming organ donors when they go to renew their driver’s license.

Will the power of doing the right thing equal the power of upset and outrage, the way it appeared in February when Facebook users rallied behind Planned Parenthood? Will either candidate upset social media users in the next few weeks to cause a Facebook movement?

We’ll find out in a few weeks. In the meantime, did you register?

Photo Source: MorgueFile

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