By: Lauren Selleck
In 2010 it was reported that there were more than 500 million users on Facebook and 450 million are using mobile technology to access the Internet . With all of these people able to share thoughts and ideas easily, it is no surprise how much the external strategic environment of companies is affected by technology. Technology is constantly creating disruptive changes, which allow for more company and consumer knowledge and industry competitors. Leaders must be conscious of how their industry is being changed and adjust quickly or be left behind.
A perfect example of this environmental change is the election. Today, November 6, 2012, is a day where people will go off and vote. Some will post this to Facebook, tweet on Twitter, or even take photos with Instagram, but have these strategic decisions of who to vote for been altered by social media? Candidates just like corporations must notice the environmental changes and reach the market in new and modern ways.
A factor that would not have even be considered fifteen or ten years ago, now completely changes the way candidate’s function and reach voters. Candidates use social media to help reach their audiences in a way that best suits them. Nine out of 10 Senators and Representatives now have a twitter account to help reach the public . The traditional methods of gaining information about candidates no longer suit the younger voting population. Think of all the political updates you personally have seen in just the past week, no user can escape the ideals of friends, family, or ads. Every voter has been not only given a vote, but a social media voice to influence his/her friends.
Compared to 2008, social media about elections has dramatically increased from 1.8 million tweets on election day to 1.8 million tweets every 6 minutes in 2012 . Quick and not well thought out sayings can also give candidates publicity such as the recent “Binder full of women” comment by Mitt Romney. While these quips may not sway voters they at least allow for information to reach them. If social media is a determinate of who will win the election Obama would take the lead with 32,114,658 likes while Romney only has 12,084,116 likes [Facebook.com].
While it is still unknown if this new advertisement avenue will prove to help determine which candidate will win, it sure is apparent this is how many voters receive information. The disruptive nature of social media in elections will be proved or discounted later tonight with the results of the election, but one thing is for sure the amount of voter perspective shared through social media is staggering.
 Bughin, Jacques, Michael Chui, and James Manyika. "Clouds, Big Data, and Smart Assets: Ten Tech-enabled Business Trends to Watch." McKinsey Quarterly(2010): Print.
 "Social Media Election." Open Site. N.p., 11 Oct. 2012. Web. 05 Nov. 2012. <http://open-site.org/blog/social-media-election/>.