Emerging Media: Twitter Used to Measure Presidential Candidate Popularity

Emerging media is a phrase used to encompass the many forms of digital technology, social media, and mobile media that society relies on for communication (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, websites, blogs, etc.).


Even though some of the things we consider emerging media have been around for as long as we can remember we are always finding ways to make them more efficient for our communication. For example, the use of email can be dated back to the 60’s, but it has transformed into so much more. Now we have the ability to send coupons, newsletters, and other various forms of advertising with ease by using email marketing tools such as Constant Contact.

Emerging media is very relevant to society today, because nearly everyone uses it on a daily basis.  I know many people that utilize social media as their PRIMARY form of news intake.  Personally, I use YouTube before almost every big purchase I make to watch reviews from other people.

Beyond utility, we also use emerging media as a means to feel close to one another. Instead of waiting five days to mail a letter to a friend, we can just hop on Facebook and reach them in an instant. Emerging media has been a catalyst to society, and it has changed our world in many ways.

One of the most relevant topics of today is how social media has impacted the presidential election. Not only do the candidates need to be active on all social media platforms to reach a wide audience, but social media is also being utilized to analyze the political climate. For example, a group from Stanford analyzed tweets to measure how the public felt about the top candidates.  This was earlier on in the election, but the opinions that can be seen on the “Emoji Maps” are still pretty accurate. This is a great use of social media, because it is a different format than the traditionally used polls.

Here are two examples from the aforementioned study:

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Author: hannahbakeryoung

I am an IMC grad student at West Virginia University.

6 thoughts on “Emerging Media: Twitter Used to Measure Presidential Candidate Popularity”

  1. Hi Hannah!

    It’s crazy how much emerging media has changed our world and continues to change our world! I am 100 percent guilty of getting all of my news from my social media newsfeed. I think it is even better now with the “Live Video” feature.

    When it comes to you using YouTube as a review source before purchasing something you are not alone. According to an article titled “Seven in 10 Americans Seek Out Opinions Before Making Purchase,” (http://www.mintel.com/press-centre/social-and-lifestyle/seven-in-10-americans-seek-out-opinions-before-making-purchases) these actions are common. “The majority of respondents (69 percent), including 81 percent of 18-34 year-olds, seek out opinions from others before purchasing. Online user review sites are the most popular resource for opinion-seekers in this age range while seekers aged 35+ are more likely to put their trust in independent review sites. However, social media contact recommendations hold weight for many demographics, including 72 percent of opinion-seekers age 25-34 and nearly half of those age 45-54 (46 percent).”

    Do you think we will see more “Buy Now” buttons or advertisements by online reviews?

    The example of how the public feels about the candidates through tweets is awesome! I think that social media has played a huge role in this election, and it can only make one wonder how emerging media will change the game of future elections.

    Thanks for sharing this!



  2. Hi Hannah,
    In addition to politicians using Twitter to trade barbs at their opponents, campaigns are also using the platform for fundraising, particularly on a grass roots level. A small contribution can multiply many times over if a $5 or $10 donor shares news of that contribution with followers. In How Twitter Donate Buttons Are Redefining the Fundraising Game for Today’s Political Campaigns (http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/how-twitter-donate-buttons-are-redefining-the-fundraising-game-for-todays-political-campaigns/636011), Twitter donate buttons are successful because donors can easily contribute to the campaign and because campaigns can easily target donors.
    Twitter also changes the way campaigns are covered from reporters who solicit questions for candidates via Twitter and interaction with the campaign staff.


    1. Stephana,

      I think it’s really interesting that there are instant donate buttons through Twitter. It is really feeding into momentary emotions from followers. If a candidate says something really meaningful for a group of people they are probably more likely to donate if they see a donate button right by the original post. I’m curious how that concept will continue to grow over time!



  3. Olivia,

    I need to start utilizing digital media as a news source more often! My husband uses the internet (mostly Reddit and news apps) to stay up to date on current events. He’ll come home from work and ask me if I heard about the most recent daily drama. I never know what’s going on, because I don’t take the time to browse through the various channels available to me.

    I am an avid YouTube user. Before I bought my cell phone I watched numerous reviews about the pros and cons of the product. I also watch makeup reviews and tutorials before I buy any new makeup. I’m always afraid of investing in something and then it not being what I thought. That’s the great thing about YouTube. Companies are very aware of it too, because they send PR packages to prominent YouTubers that are aligned with their niche. I think it’s a brilliant marketing strategy.

    As far as “buy now” vs. ads by reviews I think we’ll see both grow. Not everyone cares to watch reviews, especially since it has become so easy to return products. I just ordered a cookbook last night that I was uncertain of even though I read a ton of Amazon reviews. My husband told me to buy it and then once we have a chance to look through it we can decide to keep it or return it. No big deal. Many companies offer free shipping on returns, which I think does contribute more to the “buy now” mentality. There isn’t much risk in making a spontaneous decision.

    Thank you for your comment!


  4. The Twitter map portion is really interesting. I would imagine that in the near future this would be a better and more effective means of political polling. As far as I know a lot of the current polls are based off of landline phone calls, which less and less people have access to, yet the younger generations are almost certainly engaging in one of these platforms.

    In the realm of “Twitter mapping” I thought that you might find this interesting: http://ny.spatial.ly

    It’s a map of the languages being spoken/tweeted in particular cities, in this case NYC. Aside from the useful data, it’s a really nice design.


  5. Josh,

    The Twitter map is so interesting! I love how it shows the diversity of Twitter users. You’re right that some of the traditional polling methods are outdated, and Twitter (and other emerging media) can be valuable tools to curate a better understanding of voting opinions! Thank you for your insight!



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