Learn More About the Vote With These Useful Social Tools

By Cameron Scott 

election 2012, social media, social networksHow much social media sways swayable voters is perhaps the same sort of question as how much wood a woodchuck would chuck if it could. Even so, some projects designed to give average users access to information about the vote are worth watching.

HootSuite’s election command center offers a couple of interesting features. It tracks mentions of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, their vice-presidential candidates and their wives.

Team Obama maintains a consistent edge in every category except vice-presidential mentions. Social media continues to skew towards younger, urban users, however.

Perhaps even more interesting is a sentiment analysis of tweets that mention @BarackObama or @MittRomney. HootSuite claims to be able to break the mentions out into 8 categories, including “affection/friendliness,” “sadness/grief” and “anger/loathing.” The analysis updates continually. (In SocialTimes sporadic checks, Obama has consistently had more positive results.) The tool counts Facebook mentions but doesn’t offer a sentiment analysis.

Twitter has its own barometer, which measures the degree of engagement with tweets from @BarackObama and @MittRomney. Users can filter results by topic and by state. The tool also features the tweets with which both candidates have generated the most engagement. The Twitter filter also shows an lead for Obama.

Foursquare will offer a live infographic displaying check-ins of voters using its app, SocialTimes reported last week. And YouTube’s Election Hub will feature user’s own vlogs of their votes in its coverage, provided users tweet links to the videos to @YouTubePolitics or include #YouTubePolitics in the video title.

The most activist social media view onto Election 2012 comes from Video the Vote and UStream, via Storify. The project asks users to document any events that discourage voter turnout or turn away particular voters. In partnership with UStream, Video the Vote to support citizen reporters filming broadcasting from election hotspots. Users can tag their own videos (#VideotheVote) or can call a hotline (1-866-OUR-VOTE). Video the Vote will also have volunteer videographers on hand to film any trouble spots.

“With the advent of smart phones and social media, every voter has the power to make sure that any problems in their community are recorded and distributed for all the world to see,” said Matt Pascarella, Video the Vote campaign director.

On election day, users can watch the footage as it comes in.