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Using Social Media to Predict Elections May Be a New Trend

social mediaAfter the surprising results of the election on Tuesday, many people were blindsided as the results were quite different from those predicted by traditional polls before the election. With this stunning turn of events, many have started to question the validity of traditional polls, turning instead to different ways of predicting upcoming results in elections. Some are suggesting that social media could be the best way to predict elections in the future.

 

Prior to the election, several articles came out suggesting that Trump would actually make a stunning win in the election. These articles used evidence gathered from different sources all connected to social media. In one case, a professor said that an algorithm he created predicted a win by Donald Trump. This algorithm utilized data available from Twitter that showed what people were talking about prior to the election. He had used this algorithm before with 95% accuracy to predict the 2013 Australian federal election and the 2015 Queensland election.

 

In another example, an artificial intelligence system predicted that Trump would win the election as well. This particular AI system takes a wide number of data points from Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to create predictions on who will win. Earlier in the election process, the system was able to predict correctly the results of the presidential primaries. Since 2004 when this AI system was created, the system was able to predict the last three U.S. presidential elections. Now has correctly predicted this one as well.

 

There has been a great deal of success with just using social media alone as a predictor of who will win the election. While polls failed miserably at predicting the results of the election, other systems were able to predict the results by comparing the number of pro-Trump and pro-Clinton tweets in the months leading up to the election. There are some small failings in this kind of a predictor since computers are not always best at judging whether a tweet is for or against a specific candidate. Still there was much more success in predicting Tuesday’s election this way than through polling.

 

Analysts monitoring social media were able to predict the outcome of the election months in advance, while polls were still predicting an easy win for Hillary Clinton. Their data suggested that those who were responding to the polls may not be answering truthfully when confronted by a stranger on the phone. While these people may not have claimed to be voting for Trump or may have refused to answer polls, on social media they were able to speak their mind. This evidence suggests that in the future, social media may actually be the place to start when attempting to predict elections.

Looking to the Effects of Social Media in the Wake of Election Results

american flagAfter an unexpected win by Donald Trump in this year’s election, many people are starting to look into the way that social media played a role. Trump was a candidate with an undeniably large social media presence from the beginning. He received the most attention for his interactions on Twitter, but he was also present on other social media sites during his campaign. Reports from those tracking the campaign show that many supporters were able to find each other through social media and to follow campaigns through Facebook, Twitter, and even Snapchat.

 

Information after election day now shows us how social media has changed the way that people follow the election results and how they enter the discussion on candidates through social media. One of the key sites for election day interactions was Twitter. Between the start of election day and 3am the next day when Trump claimed his victory Twitter saw more than 75 million tweets that were related to the election. This is up from 2012, when there were only around 31 million tweets that were related to that election. It is clear from these statistics alone that more people are turning to social media when it comes to coverage of important events.

 

In a study that was conducted on how social media actually changes people’s opinions on a political subject, it was clear that social media can do more than just get people interacting with one another. The study discovered that 20% of social media users said they had changed an opinion about a social or political issue because of something they saw on social media.  Additionally, 17% reported that social media had changed their view on a political candidate. In the majority of cases, the view had changed for the worse rather than for the better.

 

Many people worry about the way that social media can effect discourse on different political subjects just because of the format of social media itself. Some argue that there is no room for educated and civil discourse when social media users are communicating in memes and in 140 character bursts. The interactions between people on either side of the political spectrum within social media, appear in general to be negative interactions that degrade quickly to name calling. There is also concern that social media gets people to focus more on scandals rather than on the policies of the candidates.

 

One thing is certain, social media appears to make political opinions and interactions much more present in people’s everyday life, making it harder for people to avoid looking at the different sides of the argument. Candidates and average citizens alike have the ability to interact in completely new ways throughout this discussion. Whether this is beneficial or problematic for political discourse in our country remains to be seen.

Facebook Updates Action Buttons and Adds Recommendations For Businesses

facebookIn a recent update, Facebook made a couple of changes to help make it easier for businesses and their customers to interact without even leaving Facebook. The main parts of the update focused on adding new action buttons that make it easy for customers to place orders, get quotes, and even buy tickets to events without ever leaving the Facebook app. In addition to this, Facebook has added a recommendations feature that will make it easier for people to get recommendations from their friends.

 

Facebook’s new action buttons make it easy for customers to interact with businesses through Facebook. The Start Order, Buy Tickets, See Showtimes, and Book Now buttons make it easy for customers to make purchases and set up appointments right away through their Facebook app. Other buttons link in with messaging allowing customers to easily get quotes and request bookings through a business Facebook page. All of these buttons make it easy for customers to connect directly to the businesses, performers, and restaurants that interest them.

 

On top of this, there is a new recommendations feature designed to make it simple for Facebook users to get recommendations from their friends. This feature is focused specifically on allowing users to ask friends for recommendations within certain areas for restaurants, hair stylists, and much more. The feature makes it so that recommendations are then plotted on a map with links to the business page. Users can then visit these pages and use the action buttons to make a booking, buy tickets to an event, or order food to be delivered to their door.

 

With these new features as a big part of Facebook, many business owners will want to make sure that their business pages have features like these enabled. To do this simply update the call-to-action button on your business page. This can either link to third party apps that can then take orders or schedule appointments with these customers or link to messaging so that customers can contact your business directly. Setting up these buttons is key to building a great relationship with your customers through Facebook.

Facebook’s Voter Registration Reminder Proved the Importance of Social Media

voteAt the end of September, Facebook proved that social media is not just a great place to talk about politics, it is a great way to change the political climate. Facebook launched a brief campaign that encouraged people to register to vote by popping up a special message saying, “Are you registered to vote? Register now to make sure you have a voice in the election.” They then offered a link to online voter registration so that people could register freely. We have just seen what the results of this campaign were.

 

During the time that Facebook had this message up on their site, a huge number of people ended up registering to vote. Many of the people who registered were within the age 17-25 demographic and the 26-35. This means that many young voters have now been registered who may not have registered otherwise. Among the states that saw the most results were California, Minnesota, and Indiana.

 

The number of people who registered to vote during the four-day period that Facebook’s message was up for is incredible, showing just how social media sites can have an influence on people. Facebook says that their reason for posting the message was to try and get better voter turnouts than we saw in the last presidential election. Their specific goal was to get many younger people to vote in this election so that they can have a say in the political climate of their world.

 

While many people are talking about how wonderful it is that Facebook has been able to create such a large number of people registering to vote, others worry that this isn’t something that companies should be able to do. Some people are concerned that by influencing young people and telling them to vote, Facebook can have actually made a change to what candidates may be favored as well.  Some are pointing to this as a problem with a profitable company and social media site being an influence within the political sphere.

Twitter Makes Changes to Direct Messaging

messagingIn a recent move, Twitter released an update for their direct messaging application. The new changes to this particular feature of the website include adding typing indicators, read receipts, and also content previews beneath links that are sent over this messaging program. Many of these changes are ones that put this messaging program on a similar level to others used by different social media sites.

 

As part of the new changes to their direct messaging, Twitter has implemented read receipts. These make it so that users are able to see when the person who receives the message has looked at it. In addition to this, Twitter also has added typing indicators which are small boxes that pop up to let you know when the other person is typing. This can help you to avoid typing at the same time. These different features are all part of Facebook messaging already so there is nothing especially innovative about them.

 

Many people don’t really like having it so that the other person can tell if they have read a message. Luckily, Twitter has a solution for this. Users that don’t want to have read receipts sent to other users they are talking to can turn off this feature in the settings of the Twitter application. If they turn off read receipts, they will then be unable to see when people have read their messages in addition to other people not being able to see when they have read theirs’.

 

Twitter is continuing to add different features as they are struggling to compete with different social media sites. Many users are complaining that while Twitter continues to add updates, these are not the updates that Twitter users have been asking for. One update that Twitter users would like to see is a lift on the limit of how many direct messages can be sent in one day. For now, it looks like Twitter isn’t interested in making these user requested changes.

Further Changes Come to Facebook Live Streaming

video streamingWhen Facebook released live streaming, it was with the intention that there would be many tweaks coming in the future. Now, Facebook is making some further updates with the intention of making live streaming better for both the viewer and the person streaming. The major change in this update will be allowing longer sessions that are targeted both to the viewer and the streamer in completely new ways.

 

The main part of this update right now is that Facebook will now allow streams to last up to four hours, around twice as long as was possible before. This should allow more time for those who want to teach through their live stream. It will also make it so that viewers will be able to get more out of the live stream whether they are tuning in to just a small part of it or watching the entire stream.

 

To help those streaming stay focused more easily on what they are streaming, there is now going to be a way for the person streaming to hide the comments and reactions that they may otherwise see popping up as they are trying to stream. By hiding these comments until a specific point in the stream, someone who is creating this stream can save questions for the end of a presentation and feel a lot less like they are being watched and talked about by so many people. Along these same lines, Facebook is making it possible for both viewers and streamers to change their video to full screen, allowing them to see details more easily.

 

In addition to these current changes, Facebook plans to release several other updates in the coming months. Users will be able to block viewers from their stream based on location, age or even gender. As new updates come out, Facebook live will continue to change and grow. The goal of all of this is to make the streaming more appealing for a wide range of people.

 

Further Changes to the Facebook Algorithm Change What You See in Your News Feed

social networkingFacebook announced earlier this week that they would be making yet another change to the way their social media site works, this one targeting your news feed. Facebook has decided to shift this algorithm yet again to make it so that you are less likely to see the information that comes from media outlets and more likely to see your friend’s posts. This could mean that you will now be seeing much less hard news and more cat and baby pictures.

The reasoning for the change is that Facebook wants to get back to connecting you to your friends rather than having you read news stories all day. They have found that this makes the user experience on Facebook more positive and prevents frustration that might result when users are not able to access the information that their friends post. Of course, this has media outlets scrambling since they receive much of their readership from the links posted on Facebook. They won’t have to worry too much when it comes to shared articles at least since these will appear with other updates from friends.

 

This has resulted in some people who get a lot of their news by following different media outlets searching for a solution to make sure that they can see the news that they would like to see in their feed. Luckily, Facebook has provided a way to work around the new algorithm simply by changing a setting in the way you follow a specific page.

 

While the new update looks like it will be generally positive for users, some people speculate that the real benefit will be to Facebook itself. With the added ability for friends’ posts to show up higher in a news feed, people are more likely to share and interact on Facebook. This will allow Facebook to get to know their users better allowing them to target advertisements and rake in the cash as a result.  Whatever the reason for the change, Facebook users will now be able to enjoy a higher level of interaction with friends on Facebook once again.

Facebook Will Make Several Updates to Their Live Feature

webcam broadcastingAlthough live videos are still fairly new to Facebook, it is clear that they are an important part of where Facebook plans to go from here. Facebook recently announced several updates to their Live video feature that will make it so that people can easily use the feature for a more diverse range of broadcasts. They also hinted at the potential for adding advertisements to some of the longer live broadcasts that users have been doing.

 

One of the main changes to the Live video feature that Facebook plans on rolling out is the ability to actually schedule specific broadcasts so that different users can tune in at a specific time. This update is the result of many broadcasters having to wait around while trying to collect viewers before being able to stream. Now Facebook will allow them to schedule their broadcast and will even provide waiting lobbies where people can gather while waiting for the live stream.

 

Another addition to live streaming will be the ability to stream along with other people. This makes it so that you can have a friend come in to stream with you at any point during your broadcast, similar to how talk show hosts might invite guests to their shows. This application would allow for people to set up celebrity interviews or bring expert advice into different broadcasts that they are presenting to their friends.

 

The final update appears to be one that will put Facebook in direct competition with Snapchat. They will be adding different filters that you can use while you are broadcasting so that you are able to go live while wearing a mask, panda makeup, or a wide variety of other options. Snapchat also has filters like these, but they are mostly used for still pictures. It appears that with this specific change Facebook will be trying to compete with Snapchat by taking these filters to another level.

 

These changes to live streaming just show that Facebook is really serious about becoming a social media site that is focused much more heavily on the video aspect of social media. They are beginning to branch out when it comes to their video aspects. It will be interesting to see what new video updates develop as Facebook continues to hone this particular part of their site.

Snapchat Makes Changes to Allow It to Compete for Social Media Advertising

snapchatAs Twitter is struggling to find relevancy with today’s users, Snapchat is beginning to dominate the time that people used to spend on other social media sites. Snapchat itself has been growing in popularity since its initial launch to the point where users are averaging 24-30 minutes spent on this particular application each day. With this level of success, it is no wonder that Snapchat is starting to look for ways to profit more from the time users spend on the application.

 

After a recent update where Snapchat made many small changes to the way the stories are displayed on their app and to icons on the app, they announced that a new update was coming as well. This new update is going to make it so that advertisers will be able to easily create ads and submit these to the app without having to talk directly to a Snapchat representative. With a high level of advertising customization, advertisers will be able create a place where users can swipe to go to their site, buy their product, or do anything else that benefits the advertiser. They will even be able to target their advertisements to a range of demographics. This should help to make it so that advertisers are able to more easily submit and customize their advertisements.

 

In addition to just making some changes in the submission process, they announced exactly where these ads would be appearing. The ads will work a lot like the ones on YouTube do where users have to see the ads before watching the videos. In this case, the advertisements will appear between the stories that users view as they are scrolling through their feed looking for updates from friends.

 

Already, Snapchat is starting to see a bit of an adverse reaction to the newly announced advertisements. Many users are worried that the ads will become annoying and intrusive after this initial change to the social media application. For now, Snapchat allows the option of scrolling past these ads, but many users fear that this will change over time. If Snapchat can successfully add a greater number of advertisements into their app, without upsetting their user base, they may have a good chance of taking a lot of the advertising dollars that currently go to Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Adds Video Comments to Change User Interactions

video on cell phoneIn a recent change to their social media platform, Facebook now allows users to post comments in the form of videos downloaded from a phone or a computer. This is a new extension to the ever expanding number of ways for users to interact with each other on posts made through Facebook. With the addition of video comments users will be able to use their videos in ways that they never have been able to use them before.

 

This new addition to Facebook was created during their 50th hackathon back in February, but had to go through several months of tweaks and tests before being released to all of their users. Initially the change was only available when visiting the site on a computer, but it is now going to be in the newest update for the Facebook app on mobile phones as well. This will allow users on all platforms access to this particular feature.

 

To use a video as a comment, users only have to click on the same camera icon that they would have previously used just to add photos to comments. They will then be given the option to upload either a picture or a video to add as a part of their comment. Videos are just the latest in a whole group of additions for visual comments in the past. They arrive in the wake of pictures, stickers, links, and emojis which were all previous additions to comments.

 

Most people see the addition of videos to their comments on Facebook as no surprise because it continues to follow Facebook’s current trend of putting a higher emphasis on video. As the social media site grows and changes, it is clear that video and adding more uses for video is one of its huge goals. Many suggest that this is Facebook’s way of getting in on the success of Snapchat and similar apps. As Facebook continues to transform their site to be more video friendly, updates like this one just make sense.