Here we are in the last quarter of 2012, the election for President of the United States is right around the corner, and technology, specifically mobile technology, is being used more and more. For an election, and its candidates, utilizing this technology is important for all levels of political races. There is something about the instant communication people crave that will effect how information is distributed throughout the election season. On the night of a political debate, during a speech or interview of a politician, and in some cases when a scandal surfaces into the public view, social networking websites start to look like open forums of discussion for do-it-yourself political analysts from their homes. This is something that was lacking from the presidential elections in years past. Keep in mind, there has only been three presidents since the internet has been widely accessible and social networking has only been used for sharing opinions for the past 5 years. The way that computer technology exists today, with fast internet and internet accesible computers in almost everyones pocket, it seems obvious to me that this has some effect on an election, especially for presidential candidacy.
I am having a hard time understanding this urgency to share how we feel at the exact moment we feel it. On October 3rd, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama were involved in a presidential debate, talking about different policies of their campaigns. One major news station had a ticker placed at the bottom of the screen for the purpose of showing viewer’s approvals or disprovals of what was being said in the debate. The ticker had a line going across the screen that would be altered by votes submitted from people viewing at home. This line would dip into the negatives when something unfavorable was said and then would lift into the positives when it was an acceptable thought. Throughout the debate I kept asking myself ,”who really cares??” I mean, I could see what CNN was trying to do and understand the function of this ticker to the debate. The question still stands however, do other viewers really care about what the people sitting at their homes constantly voting for the + or – during the debate have to say? I think its safe to say that they do not, but that it is just another way to feed this obsession with the immediate sharing of opinions.
I suppose aside from my issues with how the average citizen uses these sites, social technology also has positive repercussions. Computers and the internet give the children of the United States and the world a voice. Generally, children are unheard from in politics due to the legal age to participate. However, websites like Facebook and Twitter allow younger individuals the chance to share their opinions in politics regardless of age. No other time in history has there been this ability for those too young to vote to be able to share their thoughts on political topics. This really opens up discussions in politics for school aged students and allows children and young teens the ability to have their voices heard around the world. Instead of just having classroom discussions on the current state of politics, children are now able to share their thoughts worldwide and potentially have an effect on an election.