Government Technology

E-Vote: Politics 2.0



October 19, 2007 By

"Unlike past elections, when individuals communicated very passively online, this election shows a wealth of active engagement through social networking sites," said Ryan Vartoogian, president of Spartan Internet Consulting Corp. "Based on our analysis, we see continuing upward trends. The most telling story will be the impact of these new forms of campaigning on actual voting results."

Spartan has been tracking the Internet performance of candidates in the 2008 presidential election through a new model of online analysis that utilizes over 650 factors to gauge the effectiveness of each candidate's ability to connect and engage online users.
 
Some notable findings from July 12th to October 11th (3 months in review):

  • Over 1 million supporters between Facebook and MySpace
  • Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Ron Paul added an average of 500 supporters per day across social network sites
  • YouTube views of officially posted videos climbed over 23 million
  • Mitt Romney has over 100,000 links to his homepage
  • Obama has surpassed 11 million YouTube views
  • Over 260 scheduled "meetups" organized gatherings through Meetup.com
  • Search volumes seeking specific candidates exceeded 1 million per month
  • Giuliani's online news coverage through major news sources increased by 168 percent
  • Paul has increased Facebook and MySpace support 150 percent
  • 2,500 dedicated blogs created to follow the candidates
  • Edwards has nearly 4,000 photos on Flickr following his campaign trail
  • 100,000 individuals participating in over 290 events through Eventful.com

"The past three months show varying sophistication in candidate success in engaging with people online," says Vartoogian. "Many candidates' official campaign sites were not well positioned for key search terms and in some cases don't show up under their own name."

Spartan Internet began gathering data in June and started releasing weekly composite scores reflecting each candidate's online market share starting on July 12, 2007. Each of the 650 factors is assigned a specific weight, based on how far-reaching and reliable the source data is. For example, a user who posts an image on a highly trafficked networking site or writes a blog that receives a large number of comments is weighted higher than less engaged means like a Google search.


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