Cumberland Times-News

Letters

November 14, 2012

How much did Twitter influence election?

In years past, American citizens watched presidential debates and then heard television commentary afterward, or read a description in the following day’s paper. For the debates of 2012, the setup had entirely changed. Now, instead of focusing on the debate and then attaining feedback, citizens were able to see live, moment-to-moment coverage of the debates. While this may seem to be beneficial, one must realize the source of this coverage: the social networking/micro-blogging site, Twitter.

In 140 characters or less, members of Twitter (more than 500 million worldwide) can “Tweet” about anything and everything — from what they ate for breakfast that morning, to where Hurricane Sandy was predicted to hit, to how the presidential candidates were performing in the debates. Essentially, people could sit and watch the debate on television while simultaneously tweeting about it from their laptops.

By using a hashtag (the # symbol), people worldwide can see what is “trending” and join in conversations from thousands of miles away. During the presidential debates, “#Election2012” or “#Debate2012” was frequently trending, which enticed more and more people to tweet their opinions or beliefs regarding the topic.

From the standpoint of a college student, this easy access to social networking and concurrent political news can be seen in both positive and negative lights. For example, one of my best friends (also a college student) is an ardent political follower and advocate. Being able to see his tweets regarding the debates as they happened gave me an entirely new insight to some of the topics being discussed. Since I trust my friend’s comments and value his opinion, I gain even more knowledge by watching the debates and being on Twitter simultaneously.

On the other hand, however, I have heard many of my classmates say that they are basing their political opinions solely on what they read on Twitter. As far as I can tell, these classmates have not watched the debates and are relying on the information tweeted by those whom they “follow” online. In fact, I heard someone utter the scary phrase that he “didn’t need to watch the debate because he got all the information he needed from Twitter.”

This year I made the decision to become more politically informed. I discussed socially relevant political topics with my friends; I tried to stay up to date by reading current news articles online; I watched the televised debates; and I used Twitter. If correct judgment is used, I believe that social networking sites such as Twitter can be a valuable resource for the exchange and dissemination of information. While being cautious and taking some of this online information with a grain of salt, we can use information found on Twitter as a springboard for our own investigation.

It is often said that the young people of America (college students, like myself) should “get more involved” in politics and vote so that our voices can be heard. But what if our voices are being influenced, and even manipulated by, social networking sites? How many votes cast for our nation’s president were based solely on information that people read on Twitter? We have entered into an entirely new age, where social media plays a much more influential role than we typically take into consideration.

Erin Giles

LaVale

1
Text Only
Letters
  • Canal Place Authority has no business withholding names

    The recent Times-News editorial raising questions about the mandatory secrecy of the Footer Dye Works bids is spot on in my opinion.

    April 23, 2014

  • President and Obamacare: Who needs Congress?

    Being a fellow from a small town like Cumberland I don’t always really understand what’s going on in Washington. But I have watched a few houses being built over the years. I even helped some with one house, but my brother fired me from that work pretty quickly, mainly because it was his house being built.

    April 22, 2014

  • Sweet Success Business Forum this evening in Frostburg

    As a member of the Frostburg Business and Professional Association (FBPA), I am pleased to inform the community of the “Sweet Success” event sponsored by the city of Frostburg and our organization.

    April 22, 2014

  • You can help United Way reach its goal

    The United Way of Allegany County campaign for 2013-14 will end April 30 and to date has raised more than $430,000, which is over 86 percent of its goal. But there is still $70,000 to be raised in a very short time.

    April 21, 2014

  • Support the March for Babies May 3 at Canal Place

    At the March of Dimes, we promise to work tirelessly toward the day when all babies are born healthy.
    The March of Dimes has worked for more than 75 years to help babies get a healthy start in life.

    April 20, 2014

  • Celebrate Earth Day every day: Reduce, reuse and recycle

    April 1 marked the beginning of April Envi- ronmental Education Month in Maryland — and with Earth Day coming up on April 22, Maryland has much to celebrate.

    April 20, 2014

  • Support Canal classrooms with tax-deductible gift

    While your April 17 article (“Park Service opens Canal classrooms,” Page 1A) described this exciting program accurately, your readers may be wondering how they can help support this new educational opportunity for school children in Allegany County.

    April 18, 2014

  • Ivan Hall story brings back memories of a unique man

    I enjoyed Mike Sawyers’ Ivan Hall story. It was well written and brought back some wonderful memories of my Cumberland days and especially, an unique man.

    April 18, 2014

  • It’s a secret It’s a secret

    Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
    A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • What do we do about those who weren’t criminals after all?

    Now that Maryland has become the 17th state to (finally) decriminalize possession of marijuana, one could say that the legislature and governor should be patted on the back for doing the right thing.

    April 17, 2014

Latest news
Facebook
Must Read
House Ads