Social Media and the Election: How does it impact voters? - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Social Media and the Election: How does it impact voters?

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

When you watched the Vice Presidential debate Thursday night, there's a pretty good chance that you, or someone you know, had one eye on the TV and another on your computer, tablet or smart phone.

Social media site Twitter announced after last Wednesday's Presidential debate, that it was the most tweeted event in US political history and the fourth most tweeted telecast of any kind, just behind this year's Grammy's, MTV video music awards and the Super Bowl.

Chances are, when you log in to your computer during any kind of political event, you'll get sucked in to the Internet-age version of a good, old-fashioned heated political debate.

Randy Blevins is managing partner of a marketing firm with an emphasis on social media.  He says people are more likely to engage in a political discussion on social media, rather than in person.

"You can have that kind of debate. It's a little safer, you're not getting in somebody's face in person because you know, these are hot-button issues and people feel very strongly about them,"  Blevins said.  "It's a very important election so people are looking to express their opinions and talk about it amongst their friends."

He says the back-and-forth political commentary on social media is changing minds.

"The PEW Internet American Life Project did a survey about it and about 16% of people do say they changed their mind about who they're going to vote for based on their friends' comments or things they see on social media," Blevins added.

The campaigns are taking notice.  Blevins says they are watching as people post and talk about their opinions.  

"They're getting more information that ever about what the voters feel and think.  In many ways, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest and Instagram have democratized our commentary on democracy -- adding more voices to the conversation", said Blevins.

He just cautions folks to make sure the voice they're listening to is speaking the truth.

"I just worry sometimes that some of the things that are posted are not sourced or accurate, so what I tell people is, yeah, anybody can throw up an info graphic about your beliefs.  But I always ask where did you find this because I want to go learn more about it."

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