To read some people on the Internet, you’d think the election would be decided by who had the most followers and Tweeted the most about his or her favored candidate. The truth of the matter is that, even if you are the world’s most prolific political Twit with gobs of followers… those people (other than the spam bots) self-selected to follow you, meaning you’re either preaching to the converted or the trolls.
In real life, most people don’t use Twitter — and, when they do, it’s not to get involved in politics. Some statistics on that, courtesy of the Pew Internet and American Life Project:
- Only 8 percent of adults use Twitter on a daily basis.
- 84 percent of all social network users says they post little or nothing related to politics.
- 59 percent of all social network users say their friends post little or nothing pertaining to politics.
- Liberals are far more likely than Republican or independents to deem social media important when it comes to politics.
- Only 16 percent of all social network users changed their mind after reading about reading about an issue on social network sites.
- 9 percent of people became less politically active after reading about an issue on social media.
In other words, if your sole activist platform is Twitter, you’re just preaching to a very small group of people who, by the very fact that they follow you, are telling you they’re already interested in politics (and probably agree with yours).
Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but if people really want to get out the vote for their candidate — on either side — there’s one tried-and-true way to do that, and it’s not by Tweeting about how your candidate is awesome and the other guy’s an asshole. It’s by making phone calls, knocking on doors and making sure the people you know in real life are registered, have proper ID and can get to the polls to vote. It’s less likely to make you famous-on-the-Internet, sure, but it’s far more likely to have a real impact than another flame-war with an internet troll.
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