Social Media can Affect Voting

With the 2012 election coming up, we’ve all seen election media on our social media homepages.  Especially leading up to election day, the political messages can become really big. But how much of an impact does posting on Facebook, or tweeting on twitter really have on the political outcome?  The University of California San Diego and Facebook teamed up to answer this question. They did a study that suggests a simple “get out the vote” message at the top of the Facebook homepage that shows pictures of friends who voted, had a measurable effect on voter turnout.  The effect was shown to be the strongest among close friends.  Indicating that like in the real world, strong ties in the online world are more likely to influence behavior than weak ties. And while the number of votes from the Facebook “get out the vote” campaign was small compared to the overall voter turnout, every vote counts. “What we have shown here is that the online world and the real world affect one another,” said James H. Fowler, professor of medical genetics and political science at UCSD. Which is pretty amazing to think that Facebook could be the difference between one candidate winning and the other.