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Social networking websites play a pivotal role in American politics

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Social networking sites (SNS) have transformed the dynamics in American politics. A new survey released Thursday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project indicated that about 39 percent of Americans in this previous election participated in political activity on a SNS.

The increase in participation, engagement and activity is due to an overwhelming presence of technology in American society. The pervasive availability of the internet in the United States along with the presence of digital devices such as tablets, smartphones, and others have paved the way for a larger discussion to take place online.

From the 2008 to 2012 the election process changed rapidly. The shift in usage for social networking services did not just reshape how Americans use them during the election cycle, but politicians also invested lots of their communication efforts on these new channels.

''This means that more Americans are now politically active on social networking sites (SNS) than used them at all as recently as the 2008 election campaign. At that point, 26% of the population used a social networking site of any kind,'' According to the Pew and Internet report.

Social media networking services like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and others were heavily exploited by the Obama administration and by the former Republican challenger Mitt Romney. What was also discovered was that for the first time the campaigns from both camps talked directly to the voters without any filter or without the intervention of a media outlet.

The conclusions or results obtained from this report were collected based on telephone interviews conducted by the Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The data is from a sample of 2253 adults and the survey is from July 16, 2012 to August 7,2012.

Below are some additional findings:

  • ''In 2012, 17% of all adults posted links to political stories or articles on social networking sites, and 19% posted other types of political content. That is a six-fold increase from the 3% of adults who posted political stories or links on these sites in 2008.''
  • ''In 2012, 12% of all adults followed or friended a political candidate or other political figure on a social networking site, and 12% belonged to a group on a social networking site involved in advancing a political or social issue. That is a four-fold increase from the 3% of adults who took part in these behaviors in 2008.''

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