The 2012 Election is finally over. I’m extremely relieved. It was too long and too nasty. What made it tolerable were the interesting, creative and powerful ways in which individuals, organizations and communities used social media to engage with the issues and candidates and to resist and disrupt the election process. While I can’t begin to list the variety of ways that social media was a part of the election, I thought I’d mention just a few that I’ve been thinking about on this November 7, 2012, the day after President Obama was re-elected (Hooray!).
A few days ago, I wrote about how some people were using amazon online reviews to challenge and disrupt Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” comment in the second presidential debate. These online reviews are only one small example of how people used social media during the election season. Many used humor to resist. There were memes with buff dude Paul Ryan and with Romney and his love for Big Bird/hate for Sesame Street and longing for more “horses and bayonets.”
Others used social media to connect, mobilize and educate voters on their rights and the issues. Just a few examples on election day: People shared in the ritual of voting by posting photos on Instagram, detailing their experiences as Facebook status updates (or by clicking on the “I Voted” button) or as tweets with the hashtag, #ivoted. They supported those who were waiting in long lines to vote by encouraging them to #stayinline (via twitter), empowering them with important information about their rights as voters and providing them with a space for sharing their own stories about voter problems/abuse.