An interesting analysis in the New York Times on President Obama’s apparent dominance – again – in 2012 in social media. Short version: Old white men watch cable TV. Younger people – particularly women and minorities, categories in which Obama dominated – use smart phones.
This is about more than media. The Obama campaign correctly understood that to reach certain cohorts most effectively it would have to move beyond traditional media to the media that most resonates with Hispanics, young women, African-Americans and even Asian-Americans. Consider Latinos. The 50.5 million Hispanics in the country have higher usage rates of mobile and social media than Anglos. African Americans and Hispanics have adopted Twitter at faster rates than whites or Anglos.
Consider women, too, of various ethnic backgrounds, who have embraced smart phones faster than their non-Hispanic white counterparts. More than three in five women who are of African American, Hispanic or Asian-American had a smartphone in 2011, compared to just one in three white women, according to Nielsen.
More than three in four Asian-American women believe that smartphones improve their lives, while just one in four is inclined to say the same thing about the most tried and trusted medium in American politics: Television.
This isn’t just about tools and software, of course. It’s about the changing ways people receive information.
All of this suggests not only that a key shift has long since gotten underway in demographics and media, but also that younger voters make decisions differently. They are constantly informed, messaged and reinforced by their deluge of text and Twitter messages — all coming from their friends, families and co-workers — hundreds if not thousands of times a day. While Obama lost a few points off his overall white vote, he still swamped Romney among all people under 30, the first and fastest adopters of social media, by 5 million votes (even though fewer younger voters turned out than in 2008). As if to underscore the Democratic edge, even after the polls closed in Virginia, the Obama campaign was still texting volunteers to make sure everyone in line stayed and voted.