November 13, 2012 Leave a comment
The company I now work for has a relationship with a market research firm that analyzed the effectiveness of social media in the Obama vs. Romney election for CBS. As part of their findings they created a word cloud of the terms people on social media associated with each candidate. And that got me thinking about how quickly social media has evolved.
Back when I was at AOL during its grand ascent to being the largest social network in the world at that time, we realized that time progressed online at an accelerated rate and so we needed to a release new version of AOL about every six months or so to stay up-to-date with the competition. Part of that acceleration relates to Moore’s Law which stated (in 1965, mind you) that (paraphrased) computer capacity doubles every two years. That trend continues and with it the viral spread of social media. After all, Twitter is only 6 ½ years old, Facebook 8+ and LinkedIn a bit over 9 years old – and all of them (following the hockey stick graph of online social network growth) have really only come into their own in the last 5 years or so.
When viewed through the snapshot lens of a cyclical event that growth, and therefore impact, is magnified. Take, for example, the 2008 Olympics in Beijing which had some social media component, mainly relating to reporting outcomes before they were available on US television broadcasts, but four years later organizers of the London games, recognizing that the growth of social media influence was so relentless official policies for athletes were created and instituted for fear of affecting the performances of the athletes and the reputation of the games, became known as the “Social Media Games”.
And so it is with General Elections. Four years ago, Obama was the first to organize grassroots efforts in the social media environment and did so at a pace that dwarfed (both in size and effectiveness) anything the McCain camp had to offer. Four years later, social media is such a driver of political support that it was instrumental in re-electing the president and will be a requisite in all political campaigns going forward.
Two things some may find of interest: Read more of this post