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Social Media Election Guide 2012

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What many are calling the social media election of 2012 has been notable for ceaseless chatter on social networks about presidential candidates, a parade of animated GIFs parodying candidates via email, botched attempts at political hashtags on Twitter and the often annoying "I'm voting" app on Facebook.

Yet it remains to be seen how much, if any, impact social media will really have on the 2012 election results, even as pundits speculate that social media might somehow be as influential now as television was for voters back in the 1960 John Kennedy-Richard Nixon contest.

As voters finally head to the polls and go home to watch the returns roll in on Nov. 6, it's worth highlighting the key online resources that many people will be using as they continue the online conversation via social media on election night.

These include all sorts of popular social media sites and features that claimed attention during the presidential campaign of 2012, as well as some that rolled out at the last minute.

10 Top Election News Hubs

Here are 10 of the best news sites and social media services worth monitoring for results, analysis and social media chatter on Election Day.

10 Top Social Network Election Hubs

Leading social networks have teamed with news organizations, polling firms and web programmers and data experts to release all kinds of tools for monitoring, discussing and participating in the 2012 election. Here are some of the key ones.

  • Twitter Political Engagement Map-- This graphical tweet map went online the week before the election and allows people to see which tweets from President Obama and Mitt Romney got the most attention on a state-by-state basis, based on the number of retweets and favorites. Twitter explained more about how the map works in its blog.
  • The Twitter Political Index or #Twindex offers a daily pulse-taking of sentiment toward the two presidential candidates.
  • FourSquare Election Day Check Ins is an app that allows citizens to check into Foursquare on their smart phones, find their polling station, and see the names of candidates and propositions appearing o their local ballots. Foursquare will provide them with an "I Voted" badge and see other voters "checking in" in real time, too.
  • CNN Election Center's Facebook Election Insights launched in August 2012 as part of a partnership between Facebook and CNN. The online app is designed to take the pulse of social media chatter about the election and provide statistical snapshots of hot topics and tweets.
  • Facebook U.S. Politics page is a hub Facebook offers to highlight the network activities of candidates, elected officials and their campaigns.
  • YouTube Politics Channel offers a large collection of TV clips and other videos pertaining to the 2012 campaigns, including campaign ads, debate footage and all various videos that went viral.
  • HootSuite’s 2012 Election Tracker command center shows metrics for social media conversations about the election and attempts to measure sentiment behind messages.
  • Tumblr's Election Blog aggregates posts, animated GIFS and other media about the election posted by Tumblr bloggers.
  • Topsy election 2012 is a search tool offering a quick scan across a bunch of different social media. Try searching on both "election 2012" and just "election."
  • Twitter #election2012 -- Search the #election2012 hashtag on Twitter to monitor real-time conversations.

Social Media Election Apps

People are using a bunch of Facebook apps to proclaim their political preferences, but one particularly aggressive one does the reverse--it tries to infer the political preferences of people's friends from their likes, comments and other activity on the network. It's called the Wisdom app.

Another political app on Facebook has the potential to be annoying, too - Vote with Friends, a tool for prodding friends into voting that bills itself as a "game."

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