No ignoring Election Day with social media

Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and all my online friends really want me to vote

Technology trends and news by Ronny Kerr
November 2, 2010
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If you’re one of my fellow Americans, you’ve likely noticed that social media sites on Tuesday are littered with features for Election Day coverage and tools encouraging citizens to get out and vote. Here are the most prominent.


Facebook election widget

Upon logging into Facebook today, users immediately face a widget at the top of their news feed declaring, “Today is election day.” Beneath a red, white and blue “VOTE” icon, Facebook lists all the user’s friends that have already voted, and above that list lies a counter, updated in real-time, with the total number of people on Facebook who have voted.

The only thing left for the user to do is to click that “I Voted” button in the dead center of the widget. If this is the ultimate peer pressure feature to encourage citizens in the direction of civic responsibility, I’m all for it.

fb polling place locator
People don’t even have a chance to say they don’t know where to vote because, from that very widget, Facebook links to a polling place locator, embedded directly into the site. Though some users have reported bugs with the tool, I found my own polling place instantly.

Users might notice that the poll locator is just one tab on the “U.S. Politics on Facebook” page, which is updating all day with coverage of election results, from the meaningful (who’s winning in the race between Republicans and Democrats?) to the mundane (little-known candidate for Congress just posted pictures of himself voting in Alabama!).


For complete and up-to-the-minute coverage of the election, Twitter is hoping to be the one-stop hub for voters, especially since its the very first election day for the young website.

Notably, Twitter announced in its election day blog post that The Washington Post would be the first news organization to sponsor a Promoted Tweet. Promoted Products is still part of an experimental revenue model being tested by Twitter, and The Washington Post itself likely sees election day as a good time to test out the new form of advertising.

Other major news organizations, like The New York Times and CNN, are incorporating visual analysis of tweet activity into their own special coverage of the elections throughout the day.

Twitter users should use hashtag #votereport (or #NYCVotes in New York City) when tweeting about experiences at their local polling center, or hashtag #ivoted just to motivate other users to get out and vote.


Finally, users who check-in to Foursquare today from their voting location will earn a special “I Voted” badge, as featured previously on VatorNews.

If all else fails and you still have a friend or family member who doesn’t feel particularly motivated to leave the house for a vote, you could always send them this link. Nice and straightforward.

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