Facebook your way to the polls

Yes, this election year is marked by heavy use of technology, more than the past few elections. Obviously, different types of social media have appeared and now many are being used for the benefit of electing people to power – most notably to the White House. Take for example tonight’s debate in New Hampshire on ABC. The network is broadcasting now the Republican side of the debate with the major candidates arguing over their positions and jockeying for who will win the primary in two days.

So what does Facebook have to do with this? Everything! With over 60 million active users on the site, this is a huge advantage for the Presidential candidates to try and migrate people over to their camp. Now with this specific debate, you can go online to ABCNews.com and click on  the Vote2008 Facebook debate page and download the Facebook widget and answer the polls that are being asked and see what others are thinking.

But wait, Facebook is not just the only technology being employed this year in the debates. In just a couple of hours, the Democratic debates will take place in New Hampshire on ABC News, but will not feature all the players in the primary. There were rules established that prohibited all the candidates from appearing. So if your candidate is not included, what do you do? Mike Gravel found out the hard way and had already been excluded from a debate so he went on UStream, set up a channel and now is having his second “alternative” debate to make sure his voice is heard.

And of course, you want the latest news of each presidential candidate, sign up for the latest news on Twitter, join their Myspace page, look at their blog, and check out their latest social media exploits as they try and reach out to the younger mass audience. But you know, there was once a question that I came across on a blog that someone had wrote about which candidate was embracing technology to be a more viable candidate and win the presidency. I think it’s actually the media that is fully utilizing the social media arena. These debates are using Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and other applications to attract a larger audience. But I think Ron Paul may have my vote on being the one with more social media experience since his major fundraising capability probably stems from young folks attracted to his views and are the main target audience who use the social tools. So due to his lack of exposure on traditional media, then he seems to take this one, but obviously with more money, like Hilary Clinton, Barack Obama, Rudy Guiliani, and Mitt Romney, they can buy more non-traditional media “airtime”.

By Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a journalist fascinated with the stories of the tech industry and internet culture. He's currently the Technology Editor at Flipboard, where he observes what's happening in the space while also identifying new topics of interest. In addition, he co-hosts the weekly internet show "The Created Economy," which focuses on what's happening to creators and influencers. Previously, he was a reporter for VentureBeat and The Next Web, covering tech startups, the industry's innovations and funding. Ken also has a newsletter you should also subscribe to called "Filed."