November 8, 2012
Will U.S. elections eventually be conducted entirely online? Tech entrepreneur Marc Andreessen thinks so. As CNET News reports, he foresees a national election “that is going to be about the Internet the way that 1960 was about TV for the first time with the Kennedy/Nixon debate,” and that campaign methods will change accordingly.
In the meantime, 2012 may be remembered as the Twitter election.The online medium for short, punchy statements drove donations and helped rival candidates shape their messages. Campaigns also leaned heavily on Facebook to reach and influence potential voters. Social media are where voters can be found, and where they express themselves. CNET News cites a recent study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, which found that 66 percent of adults using Twitter and Facebook do so in part to conduct civil and political activity.
Celebrities like Ashley Judd and Justin Bieber reportedly used Twitter to urge their tens of millions of followers to get out and vote. Late in the race, Twitter introduced a map that lets anyone see the locations where people are tweeting most about specific political issues. In future elections, savvy politicians will focus even more on Twitter strategies. Says Andreessen, “I think it’s obvious that the 2024 election will be conducted entirely online.” — Greg Beaubien