How political candidates' use of Facebook relates to the election outcomes

Hsin-Chen Lin

University of New Brunswick, Canada


The emergence and adaptation of online communication technologies, such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, have dramatically changed communication between politicians and their constituents during elections. Generally speaking, marketing communication channels such as newspapers, television advertising, radio and billboards are being replaced by internet and social media services as the primary channels through which companies communicate with their customers (West 2013), a shift that has also been adopted by politicians in election campaigns (Hong & Nadler 2012). For example, American presidents traditionally announce their decision to run for re-election through a formal televised announcement from the White House, however, Barack Obama’s official announcement of his re-election bid for the 2012 presidential election was delivered via Twitter tweets and YouTube video (Adams 2011). During his campaign, Barack Obama employed more than 100 staff and invested $47 million in his social media outreach, which included regularly posting political updates, monitoring these messages and communicating with supporters (West 2013). As can be seen from this example and more recent developments, social media has become a critical domain of political communication and competition.