Storyful Blog

Documenting democracy: The social media election kicks off

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It’s come at last: November 6 dawns and the United States is already at the polls, deciding who will lead for the next four years. It’s been dubbed the social media election, and for those heading to vote armed with the tools of the trade – smartphones and some kind of internet access – now is the chance to document their experience. And there’s no shortage of platforms for publishing.

YouTube is actively seeking election day videos from ordinary voters recording their thoughts as they vote, the lines at their polling station or any election-related user-generated content, with the promise that a selection of those received will feature on the YouTube Elections Hub.

It’s worth remembering, however, that some states expressly prohibit recording inside a polling station. The Citizen Media Law project has a list of those that do, as well as guidelines for avoiding legal trouble on election day. Their video primer on how to video your vote gives tips to avoid breaking the law when documenting your vote:

They’re also encouraging people to use the hashtag #DocTheVote12 to share information about videoing their votes. Some have been using it to talk about the situation at their polling station:


For journalism students covering the election through social media, journalism schools across the States have launched #jelection, a joint election coverage project which highlights contributions from 21 different schools. Follow the hashtag on Twitter, or check out their RebelMouse for more.

Meanwhile, Twitter is gearing up for a busy day, with a reminder that a total of 1.8 million tweets were sent on the last US election day in 2008 – compared to the 10 million sent during the first 90-minute presidential debate earlier this year. And while their #Election2012 event page is bringing together tweets from candidates and those close to the campaigns, as well as members of the media, voters too are using the hashtag to share election news and tweet their own voting experiences.

Facebook is encouraging voters to document their electoral experiences too with its ‘I’m a Voter’ button, topping news feeds in the US with a reminder to cast a ballot alongside pictures of the user’s Facebook friends who are voters in this election.

Also on Facebook, as well as on its own site,  Video the Vote is calling on voters to document any perceived incidents of voter suppression.

According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 22 percent of registered voters have already published how they voted on a social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Got any more good social media election projects or publishing platforms we can add? Let us know if you’re documenting your vote.


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This entry was posted on November 6, 2012 by in Uncategorized.
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