Social in the spotlight of this year's election

November 5, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
This year's online election coverage will be more important than ever.

On Google's famously Spartan home page sits a tiny reminder of a big event that's certain to break records.

"Last time around on YouTube there were about a billion views for election related videos; this time videos tagged either Romney or Obama have been viewed almost 3 billion times," Google Elections Team spokesperson Abbi Tatton said.

Tatton says on the site's politics page, video from partners like ABC News will sit side by side with posts by ordinary users.

"Commentary from voters about the key issues; the things that they want to talk about," Tatton said.

All those different voices have a flip side, says Stanford student and blogger Lindsay Funk.

"The down side is some of that analysis can get lost; if you're just looking at results, you don't always know what it means, so I'm really hoping to provide some context," she said.

She'll be among the students live-blogging the election from Washington on the site PolicyMic, writing for a generation of college students who don't often have TV's or radios.

"For them the Internet is the main thing that they access that has news," Funk said.

The changing landscape also means changes in how we cover the election at ABC7 News. Four four years ago, the iPad didn't exist. Now, there's a possibility you're watching us with one in your lap.

"Big news events tend to be experiences for people watching TV and at the same time either on their mobilephone, or with a tablet," ABC7 News Director of Web Operations Jennifer Mitchell said.

So while the biggest races are featured on TV, you can find live results for all the other races on the ABC7 News mobile apps as well as on the web site. And the social media team won't just be tweeting, they'll be reading.

"We'll be looking for what people are talking about on the election on these platforms," Mitchell said.

Twitter will be watching too and updating its "Twindex" political index that measures positive and negative tweets about each candidate. On the eve of the election, it showed a race too close to call and even closer in the swing states.


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