As the race to the white house heats up, so too does the cyberworld of supporters. For a younger generation, you could call this election cycle #listentome. YNN's Katie Cummings has more on how social media is influencing voters, candidates, and their campaigns this political season.
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Voters are tagging, tweeting and posting their comments about the upcoming election.
Moments after Clint Eastwood delivered a speech at the GOP convention pretending to interview President Obama while talking to an empty chair, a trend known as #eastwooding started on twitter the next day.
"Everyone went to work, took pictures with their empty chairs, and hashtagged it with the word eastwooding,” said Buffalo Social Media Club member Nicole Schuman. “There was so many of these tweets that went on that it definitely became a trend."
Some people say they have not yet jumped on the social media bandwagon.
"There’s a lot of information on iPhones and I get daily bulletins and I read that but I’m not a Twitter and I’m not a Facebook person,” said Pennsylvania resident Chris Marso.
"I’m not online,” admitted West Seneca resident Howie Russell. “I’m not even on the computer."
But Schuman says the use of social media in campaigning and during live events has increased exponentially since the last presidential election. She says it started appearing during Obama’s campaign in 2008 and since then, she says many candidates have taken notice of the benefits of the technology.
"That’s how they got most of their fundraising, grassroots followers,” said Schuman. “They came up from pretty much being unknown. Using social media and digital is a lot cheaper for them than putting out mailers, or trying to find so many people within the zip code, or paying for mailing lists."
Schuman adds social media helps candidates to reach particular demographics, especially young people. One voter says its working.
"I think a lot of the younger people today are more in tune with the internet and that's where they gain a lot of their information,” said West Seneca resident Joe Sherman. “So I think the Facebook and Twitter and a lot of the internet stories that are out there do help"
And for some...the GOP convention was another reason to log in.
“They actually brought on a speaker who said that certain people got so many tweets and that kind of thing, so I’m like ‘uh let me check that out,’” said Orchard Park resident Michelle Wysocki. “And actually Paul Ryan didn’t score as highly after he spoke and I was surprised about that."
The cyber election is far from over. Facebook fans have already created a page renaming Labor Day “National Empty Chair Day,” and this week, voters will have their chance to hashtag their way through the Democratic convention in Charlotte.