Twitter plays increasing role in elections

How do you think social media has affected the election?  “I would say that it’s really impacted. … Everyone, it seems, is on social media these days, so it’s easier to get your opinion out there.” — Chloe McPherson, senior in mechanical engineering 

Dan Mackenzie

Some were relieved, and some were sorry to see it go, but Election Day came upon Ames with a slow, steady buzz that had been building for well longer than a year. Twitter reported #Election2012 saw more than 11 million tweets in just one day.

For a bit of perspective, during the last presidential election in 2008, Twitter was still on the rise, with approximately 3 million users. The real difference was MySpace was still leading Facebook as the No. 1 social networking site.

Four years made for a lot of difference. Twitter began to spit out the earliest results as early as 7 p.m. CDT, calling Kentucky, West Virginia, Vermont and South Carolina. In addition to serious news coming through the waves, many people were making light of an exciting night.

“One voter in Baxter just admitted to me that he wrote in Mickey Mouse for a district court seat,” tweeted The Des Moines Register’s Kyle Munson.

Other Twitter users had other jokes to tweet.

“Is anyone else watching the coverage on the DuMont Network? They just called the race for Eisenhower,” joked Steve Young, @PANTSSteve, referring to the television network that disbanded in the 1950s.

Others were more excited at the sideshow than the real event.

“The dude who played Pedro in ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ was hanging out at my polling place in Hollywood. I did not vote for him,” tweeted comedian Doug Benson.

Tom Brady’s Ego said: “I would honestly vote for whatever candidate said I’ll get rid of the Jets.”

Others in the electronic aether tried to be a bit more scientific with their observations.

“#Obama has 20 million more Facebook likes than #Romney,” tweeted @hootsuite, asking followers if they thought that was a good predictor. Many accounts were sending out variations of “retweet for Obama, favorite for Romney,” with results showing both ends of the spectrum.

Showcasing the utility of Twitter for public good, many users were tweeting words of encouragement and useful information throughout the day. Reporters from papers around the state, including the Daily, were tweeting updates of the lengths of lines.

“Remember, even if the polls close when you are in line you still get to vote!” tweeted Dominic Trombino, @dtrombino, whose sentiment was echoed by several other sources.