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We asked Brad Shimmin, an analyst with Current Analysis, how the use of social media in this national election compared with last time.
'Consensus of Our Friends'
He said that in 2008, "there were more social media initiatives to influence and organize," and, while many of those initiatives have now become standard, this time there is a "lot of maximizing of the tools." As one example, Shimmin pointed to the use of hash tags on Twitter to focus attention on specific issues, such as Romney's claim that Jeep was moving U.S. jobs to China.
He also noted that, "for a certain age group," political information presented through social media is, in fact, the 6:30 pm newscast. "When we look for sources of trusted information," Shimmin said, "the consensus of our friends can be more powerful than that of talking heads on TV."
Shimmin also said that another major new trend, even more advanced than four years ago, is that "everyone becomes their own news publisher," and he expects this development to grow in elections ahead.