The Power Of Social Media On Election Night

Election night: the day we love, the day we hate... the day we love to hate and like only because it's exciting, hectic, and when it's done we could use a full night's sleep... which usually doesn't happen. I guess if you're a journalist, only you would understand this last paragraph.

This past election night was just that... exciting and hectic. Reporters running around, the phone ringing off the hook, producers rapidly clicking away at their keyboards, and the shouts of the results across the newsroom once the polls are closed are enough to make that adrenaline rush kick in.

Although I wasn't out in the field, I still had my duties on the web this year and though this may not seem entirely exciting, I can guarantee you it was. For the first time on election night I saw the full force of social media come to life. I was personally manning the KOMU News twitter account and helping with the facebook, but I also experienced a live chat our new media director was holding on

The idea of a livechat on a news station's website is brilliant. During our livechat we had members of the community come together to speak out the issues on the ballot. One of our anchors stuck around to join the chat, we used a hashtag on twitter (#komuelx) so tweeters and those out reporting could join the chat as well, and we also had important public figures such as Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer join us as well. It certainly is exciting to have a politician joining us on election night to answer questions from our viewers.

I truly believe this election night was a chance for me to really realize how valuable social media is. In topics such as politics where issues are heated and engaging to viewers, news stations can provide an outlet for community members to come together and express their views. Social media provided us with the tools to create a live chat and we, a local television station, gave viewers a place to go to make the live chat more localized.

As the years go on I believe social media will take a more prominent place in society and more newsrooms will see the value of social media on election night. So I suppose when you look at a typical newsroom on election night now, and you watch as the reporters scramble around to get out the door, the producers clicking away at their shows, and the shouts of results across the room, in the future you will be able to add in social media guru's also rapidly clicking away their keyboards as well.

*Election button photo courtesy of


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