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The Vote: A Victory for Social Media, Too

The '08 election was a triumph for the likes of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr as voters chronicled their experiences in words, photos, and video

The 2008 contest for the White House may go down in history as the first social media election. How else to explain the unprecedented role the Web played in this year's Presidential contest, an influence scarcely imaginable just four years ago? In 2004 many social networking sites were just getting off the blocks. YouTube, for example, was introduced early the following year. And microblogging sites like Twitter wouldn't emerge until the 2008 Presidential campaign was getting under way.

It's not just that individual voters had access to a wider range of information about candidates and their positions on issues. Unlike in any other Presidential election, the electorate could harness a panoply of social media tools—blogs, social networks, photo and video sharing sites—to broadcast to the world their thoughts about the candidates and their experiences of the electoral process.