Social media self-promoters live for that “re-tweet,” or Facebook “Like” – actions that can go a long way toward spreading a message to a large audience. But in today’s ever evolving social media landscape, simply broadcasting your message is no longer enough, particularly in politics.
“If we look at social networking in 2008, it was a one-way conversation, where candidates could put out a message and it may or may not be heard by an audience,” said Richard Schultz, CEO of Floop, a social polling app. Now, he said, “the conversations have become more collaborative and global.”
“People are getting on [social networking sites] and are interested in talking with their friends, seeing what the communities think about different issues and different candidates.”
That means Republican presidential candidates face increasing scrutiny, not just from opponents, but from the watchful eye of social media crowds. Fans, followers and now social pollsters are watching and dissecting a candidate’s every move.
Schultz predicts social polling apps will play a “critical role” in the 2012 election.
“[The] people going to town hall meetings and Occupy Wall Street protests are largely the people who have the most free time to be able to do those things,” Schultz told ABC’s “Top Line” today. “In contrast, the number of people getting on social networks and expressing these sort of opinions and viewing them is exponentially larger than the number of people showing up in person.”
Schultz said Floop users can log onto events – say, tonight’s GOP presidential debate – and weigh in on topics and candidates in real time. A graph would also move up or down during the debate, reflecting positive or negative responses to candidates as they speak.
“It’s not just a passive conversation. You get to watch the sentiment in real time as the candidates talk about a variety of events,” said Schultz.
For those influenced by peers, Floop tracks what users’ friends are saying about particular topics. Want to see what neighbors are thinking? Floop tracks that, too, showing “what people near you are thinking about different topics, what’s important to them,” said Schultz.
“It gives you a very broad slice of the population in general, and people who are paying specific attention to the event as it’s going on.”