Staff Editorial: Obama ‘pins’ attention of young voters
Published: Thursday, March 29, 2012
Updated: Thursday, March 29, 2012 00:03
Barack Obama’s 2008 election resulted in part to the now-President’s skillful use of social media to attract a younger demographic of voters.
And again in 2012, he’s ahead of the political learning curve.
On Tuesday, Obama’s campaign staff announced the creation of the president’s Pinterest account, a relatively new form of social media. Pinterest was started in 2010 but only gained prominence in late 2011. While new, Pinterest already has 11.7 million unique visitors according to comScore, an internet marketing research firm.
Pinterest allows users to create virtual pinup boards similar to those that grace dorm rooms around the country. Users can pin their interests, videos pictures and the like for the world to see. Obama’s board, which already has more than 6,500 followers, features pinned photos of the First Family, their dog and even Obama family recipes.
According to CNN, 66 percent of eligible voters under the age of 30 voted for Obama in 2008. And this trend is not going to stop now that Obama has made himself even more visible in the social media arena. Facebook and Twitter, while utilized by the Obama campaign, have become flooded with millions of users who are trying to gain young people’s attention. Pinterest, on the other hand, is relatively new, and at less than 12 million visitors, is blown out of the water by Facebook and Twitter who have been flooded with 845 million and 300 million users, respectively.
But Pinterest’s lack of widespread use only helps the Obama campaign. With the lack of clutter on the website, and the site’s unique angle, it stands to reason that Obama’s page will get more attention.
Young Americans, the biggest users of social media, are also one of the most apathetic voting demographic. The 2008 election sported one of the highest youth turnout rates since the 1960s and hopefully Obama’s use of cutting-edge websites will continue to increase interest and voter turnout.
Obama is ahead of all his potential competitors; none of the Republican candidates has a Pinterest account yet. And while Obama’s Pinterest does not necessarily increase his chances of reelection, his campaign’s skillful use of social media will likelybring out more young voters who might have otherwise abstained.