Social media's role in the 2012 election

By: Christy Dimond Email
By: Christy Dimond Email

Seeing political messages on TV or around the community isn't anything new to this election, but what is new is how much the political realm has taken over social media.

Local political commentator Kelly Sloan said the use has picked up drastically since the previous 2008 election, when President Obama was the only presidential candidate to embrace social media.

"It's only gotten more widespread," Sloan said. "Pretty much every candidate at every level is using it, not just for the campaigns but beyond the campaigns as a way to communicate with constituents."

House District 54 incumbent Ray Scott has utilized social media platforms during his campaign and said he's been impressed with how fast messages travel.

"I'm just amazed at the number of side emails I get, or messages that I get that are private messages, people that want to discuss different issues," Scott said. "It's just an amazing tool and it's going to get a lot bigger than what it is today."

The use of social media has caused political messages to infiltrate to voters whether or not they want it or not.

"Everybody's tossing out their opinions as far as the candidates... there's the this person said this and this person said that and you just kind of get the vibe that everyone's pretty thankful it's almost over," said Colorado Mesa University Freshman Jarrette Stavast, who can't go a day without seeing political posts on social media.

But, is there a downside to the transforming landscape of communication? Colorado Mesa University assistant professor of political science, Justin Gollob, said there is.

"The big concern with social media is further polarization, as people tend to seek out information that supports their view," Gollob said.

Whether it's Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blogs or everything in between, many say they're ready to be politics-free.

"I'm just like get this off my Facebook, it's been blowing up with political ads," said Colorado Mesa University sophomore Johannes Kanas. "It's just more annoying than anything."


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