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Social media in 2012 elections will make 2008 look like the digital dark ages

By Chris O’Brien, Mercury News:

Forget all the jibber-jabber in this presidential campaign about policy and strategy. The highlight for me of this election cycle came when the Obama campaign released its Spotify playlist a couple of weeks ago.

Perusing the list of songs Barack Obama supposedly likes on the social music service, I saw that “Roll With the Changes” by REO Speedwagon was apparently among his favorites. Knowing the candidate likes this song, the staple of so many of my seventh-grade air guitar fantasies, pretty much clinched my vote for him.

OK, I’m kidding.

But the fact that Obama’s campaign took the time to assemble a Spotify playlist is an example of how the use of social media has shifted and dramatically expanded from 2008. Yes, the use of social media was a big part of the narrative of that election. But the extent to which campaigns are using social and digital media in this campaign is going to make the 2008 election look like the social media Dark Ages.

“In 2008, social media was an auxiliary component of the campaign,” said Zac Moffatt, digital director of the Mitt Romney campaign. “Now it’s integrated into the core concept of how the campaign will reach people. We have moved away from the mindset that the website is the primary place where people will interact with the campaign.”

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