The Internet has been, and will increasingly be, an important source for political news for people of all ages. Specifically, social networking sites are becoming more and more critical to both candidates and voters alike. Such sites as YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook have been discussed by Gueorguieva and Slotnick. In these respective readings, both authors recognize the importance of social media for reaching younger voters. For a group that only has about 50% of possible voters turning out to the polls, this can be a very effective way to reach them. MySpace is probably a little outdated by now, but it created the political foundation Facebook now uses. Both websites allowed voters to register to vote online and gain access to the “personal” profiles of the candidates. I say “personal” because most candidates simply used these pages to further their platform. The exception to this was Barack Obama. Simply by glancing at the figures in the Slotnick reading, it becomes obvious that Obama’s page is much more authentic – in the sense that his information seems more personal and less political. For the average person, a profile page is supposed to serve as a way for your friends to find out a little more about you as a person, not you as a professional.
Another benefit mentioned by Gueorguieva is that social media allows lesser known candidates to reach a wide audience for little to no cost. This is important especially when running against an incumbent who most likely has a fundraising edge. Giving more candidates the ability to reach a substantial audience should maximize the utility of democracy. Instead of choosing the best among well-known candidates, Americans can choose THE best candidate. This allows the right person for the job to be recognized early and have a more legitimate chance at winning an election. So my question to you is do you think that social media makes it possible for someone who in the past might not be known to his own party to win the presidential election? In other words, does social media improve, even perfect, the democratic election process?