The big question right now is who will the Internet elect in 2012? Let's explore how technology, in particular Social Media technology, is transforming American and world politics.
If you are wondering why technology feels a bit disorienting, I think this quote by EO Wilson really sums it up beautifully. EO Wilson is an American biologist, researcher, theorist, naturalist, author and a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. He was in Seattle last week talking about technology. He said, “We have prehistoric brains, medieval institutions and God-like technology.” Our prehistoric brains and our current institutions were not designed to handle this entire “God-like technology” that is coming at us so fast.
The “Good Ol Days”
Many of us still remember what we might call the “good ol days” with rotary telephones, TV’s with antennae's and old fashioned answering machines. The technology of today is Computers, Lap tops Cell and smart phones.
Social Media Intersects with Technology
So how does Social Media intersect with all this new technology? Well we have Facebook, Twitter and You Tube to name a few. The current statistics suggest that the three main reasons we currently use social media are to stay in touch with friends, family and reconnect with old friends.
We Want to Know Who You Are
As far as politics (and your business) is concerned, you, your current friends and your old friends are precisely whom I, as an American political consultant, hope I will be able to influence. When I run a political campaign anywhere in the world, I really don’t care who loves you or hates you. I only care about the 1-4 percent swing vote. As far as the American Political Machine is concerned, manipulating the swing vote is what wins elections.
And from the polling data, I know who you are, what you like and don't like, who you have voted for in the past and why, how you dress, how much money you make, where you live, and many other things you would not expect me to know. Political consultants practically know what you eat for breakfast. And every piece of information is used to manipulate you, like it or not.
Social Media Basics
Before we move on to politics, let's go through a few social media basics so you can get a sense of the territory we are talking about.
First all your social media posted must be Quality Content. This means it is not all about “Me! Me! Me!” Find out what your audience likes and finds meaningful and then give them more of that.
Marketing to Your Audience
Second, you must become saavy at Marketing To Your Audience. For example, this means figuring out for example, if they are a Cover Girl or a Wall Street Journal reader. Marketing to your specific audience means you then give them content they can relate to in the terms they understand, enjoy and prefer.
Create Strong Advocates
Next you need to create strong Advocates for your business or candidate. Your advocates will speak well of you and your business or candidate.
And a good thing to keep in mind is that the reverse is also true. If your consumers or opponents don't like what you have done, they will be talking about that. People are six times as likely to talk about a negative experience as a positive one.
Leverage Word of Mouth
And finally you need to learn how to become proficient at Leveraging Word of Mouth. If you can build strong advocates, they will create a consistent positive (or negative!) buzz about you and your company or candidate.
Fastest Growing Facebook Demographic is People Over 50
Different age groups are interacting online differently. But Social Media is not just a tool for young people to interact. In fact, currently the fastest growing demographic of Facebook use, for example is in the age group of 50 and above.
Some Other Current Social Media demographics on Facebook
Here are some other current Social Media demographics on Facebook:
Average friend count: 130
Average daily visits: 200 million. (Amazing isn’t it? That’s a lot of people! 200 million per DAY.)
Average visits per month: 40
Average amount of time per visit: 23.20 minutes.
And How About Those Millenials?
The age group named Millenials, currently age 16-32 were the first generation to be “Raised” on the internet and they represent a very large portion of the internet users today. And on just a side note, the millennia, born 1981-2000 are to be as large if not larger than the “Baby Boomer” generation, born between 1946-1964.
Where Millenials Get Their News
You may find it interesting that 59 percent of the Millennial’s get their news online and spend an average of 23 minutes each day online. So as an American Political Consultant, or you as a business owner, we want to get to those Millenials while they are online for those 23 minutes. To do that I need to know who you are, what you value and where you are!
There are 90 million unique users to Google every year and the most common user is looking for friends and the most common user occupation is….what is your guess? It’s Engineers.
If you as a political consultant like me, you are always looking for where people are communicating in the world of Social Media. So for example, in the world of Twitter, you will need to build the structure of your political….or business….websites to accommodate the fact that 54% of tweeters are on their Mobile phone and 36% of them tweet at least once a day.
Don't Forget To Build your Social Media for Mobile Phones Too
If you don’t build your website so people can read it on their phone, you are missing out on a large portion of the people who are using social media and who could know about your candidate or buy from your business. If you capture these people’s attention, you can have them telling the world about your candidate or your business. And especially telling all their friends in their world about your candidate or your business.
Mitt Romney and His Current Social Media Stats
Here is the most current date on Mitt Romney, a Presidential hopeful and Social media. Headline: “Romney gains speed on Facebook.” According to date from both Facebook and SocialBakers.com. Romney has had a swell of popularity. Last week, June 11-17 he had one of his strongest weeks yet, gaining more than 71,000 new fans with June 10 being his most popular day ever.
Obama and His Current Social Media Stats
Meanwhile Obama gained about 77,000 new fans during the same period. While this is a greater number of fans, it is down from his previous week where he had only a 1.7% increase in fans. Romney, by contrast, had a 10.8% increase oin the same time period.
Obama and "The Fathers Day" Facebook Post
Another political example of Facebook is on Fathers day 2012 just this last week. Obama posted about being a dad: “My hardest but always my most rewarding job.” It was a simple message with a huge payoff.
More than 27,000 people liked if, more than 70,000 people commented on it and 10,000 people shared it. The significance of a “Share” is that every time someone shares on Facebook, it exposes the candidates to more computer users and possibly more Likes. This is again true of your business as well. We want them to “Like” our candidates and you want them to “Like” you and your business.
Politics and Social Media in Egypt
And what's happening in the politics of the rest of the world as far as Social Media is concerned? Let’s talk about Egypt. Right this moment, people are jammed in the square in Egypt waiting for the Government to announce the new President. So far the government has told the people only that the announcement is “delayed” as of this afternoon.
Ahmed Shafik and Mohamed Morsi are two presidential candidates who have both claimed victory in Egypt’s election, the results of were expected yesterday. The process has been muddled by allegations of fraud and Constitutional Court rulings, which consolidated power in the hands of the military, which has been ruling the country since the ouster of ex-President Hosnai Mubarak.
While officials are sorting out last week’s voting, both candidates have been making their case on Facebook and Twitter, as social media and the Internet have long been a hotbed of political activity in Egypt.
Shafik’s Facebook page is used to post pictures of the candidate as well as voting results that his campaign argues show a clear victory for their candidate.
Morsi, the choice of the Islamist opposition group Muslim Brotherhood, has more than 52,000 “likes” on Facebook and about the same number of Twitter followers. Morsi’s been posting photos and videos to his Facebook page, while claiming to be the “the first elected president after the glorious revolution of January 25.” Over on his Twitter account, Morsi’s campaign has sent links to voting results that seem to indicate that he, not Shafik, is the true winner of the disputed elections. Most of his tweets are links to content posted on his Facebook page.
I just heard on NPR an hour ago that the results are still delayed and that the government of Egypt right now is putting tanks in place at banks, hospitals and the main square in case there is a riot, either way the election goes.
Politics and Social Media are “Joined At The Hip”
Isn’t this all so amazing to see how politics and Social Media all over the world are now joined at the hip all over the world? It truly is God-like technology we’re dealing with.
Where Will It All Lead?
Where will it all lead? Well….Television elected Kennedy over Nixon in 1962. Who will the Internet elect in 2012? At this point in time, nobody knows. But it will surely be both interesting and exciting to watch.