Social Media and the Election

This post is part of a series written by zcomm interns. Be sure to check back each week for their take on the latest in the public relations industry. This week, Hailey discusses the upcoming election and the role social media plays.

For months now, the internet has been flooded with political news and opinions. I’ve seen countless Facebook posts and tweets about the upcoming election and its candidates, but are all of these social media users actually planning to vote? Anyone can sit on the internet and rant and rave about candidates, but I hope that those who truly care will take their opinions to the polls.

During the third presidential debate, my roommate and I noticed that if we were to base the election results on candidate popularity, Barack Obama would win by a landslide. However, I saw someone post about the same concept, except that Mitt Romney would be the victor. Initially I thought my Facebook friend must be blind, but it makes sense. The majority of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers grew up near me, went to college with me, or were in my sorority, so it’s likely that we share similar views. You can’t really get a glimpse of the majority when you’re surrounded by others much like yourself.

To get a better idea of candidate popularity on social media, I was going to compare the exact amount of Facebook “likes” both Obama and Romney have, but in the past five minutes alone Obama has gained more than 2,000 likes. Each time I refresh the page, the number continues to grow. The same goes for Romney. Although both are seeing increasing numbers, Obama has nearly 32 million “likes,” while Romney has just over 12 million (as of 11:10 a.m. EST).

There’s a huge gap here, but is social media support in any way indicative of election results? I guess only time will tell.

Without Z There are No Zombies

Put a stake in it vampires, you’re done, ‘cause Zombies have taken center stage.  Wassup with our never-ending love of zombies?  I know its Halloween and all, but I can barely click 10 stations in any direction without stumbling across one of those lurching, rotting creatures just dying for a taste of (my) liver.  I mean this is no Food Network challenge.  This is a bunch of very hungry, post-apocalyptic dudes looking to tear you and me from limb to limb and eat us carpaccio.  They’re not big on roasting.

I admit I watch The Walking Dead.  I don’t exactly know why (but it might have something to do with the hunky sheriff Rick).  I like seeing the special effects and watching the gang of humans squash the zombies like bugs in all kinds of novel ways.  There are picks and machetes and bayonets (yup the b word again) and poles and arrows and axes…you name it and this gang uses it to put the zombies out of their ever lovin’ misery.

Zombies have been around for a while.  I know this for a fact.  There’s the Night of the Living Dead which forced me to use a nightlight well into my 20s, Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead and 28 Days Later for starters.  And now with almost a full moon and Halloween, the streets will be teeming with them.

I’ve always found it interesting that these kidney-eating monsters don’t really move that fast.  I mean, a snail has a chance at a get-away if the zombie gets a taste for escargot.  So, all ya really need is to avoid their bite while you drill them with a nail gun.  If you’re bitten, you’re kinda screwed cause then you’ll turn into a zombie, too, and shamble around in very dirty clothes looking for your next al dente meal.

And if you see some tonight, or some other night, walking in slo-mo and dripping blood?  Got two words for you — RUN FAST.

Lance Armstrong- What a Dope!

Lance has taken quite a spill and chances are really good he won’t be getting up from the ground anytime soon.

It’s amazing how much wool this guy pulled over everyone’s eyes. Not sure there are any sheep left. And it’s great that his early tattlers now have major street cred.

It’s true the guy had cancer and beat it, but that’s the only thing he honestly ever beat.  He’s been totally stripped of his 7 Tour de France titles and banished from the NY and Boston marathon books, too.

The guy is just a cheat, along with lots of his biker buddies.

I used to watch the Tour de France amazed at these ironmen with legs of steel able to pedal to a medal. But, now the entire world knows it was all a fake. His pedal-power was fueled by just the right amount of steroids to become superman without showing up on a blood test.  This was one cagey biker.

In the PR profession we’d probably counsel Lance to lay low for a long time and then spend the rest of his life doing charity work.  Oh, wait a minute…Lance already has a charity!  And he didn’t do LIVESTRONG any favors by ruining his good name.  And that name is being erased from the sides of bikes, helmets, jerseys and energy bars (so I just made that one up) even as I blog.

What was he thinkin’? Guess is he just wanted to be a winner and was willing to do whatever it took to get him to the medal stand. What a dope!

Lance not only gave pro cycling a black eye, but he also spoiled the sport for all the weekend warriors who strap on their helmets and ride 10 or 20 miles.

If I were Lance?  I’d grow a beard, grab my passport and leave town for a long time. It’s time for Lance to ride into the sunset and never show his smug mug again.

Ruffled Feathers

Who wudda thunk it?  That Big Bird would become a political hot potato in the home stretch of presidential election season?  Only in America could that big, feathery, loveable symbol of childhood get caught in the crossfire.

There’s no debating it, ever since Big Bird was named as a target for cost-cutting by Romney last week, the yellow guy has never seen this much ink.

It all started when Mitt took the mitts off and ran over poor Jim Lehrer while he was asleep at the moderator chair.  Hard-hearted Mitt told the global audience that he would actually cut PBS, Big Bird and poor Jim if he’s elected the next prez.  (I got very nervous about my Masterpiece Mystery! addiction).  But, hey, folks, that’s at least one cut he’s telling us he’ll make.  When it comes right down to it, Mitt is showing us he can make the tough choices.

So, what did Big Bird do?  He goes on a media tour and appears on SNL with Seth Meyers.  Quite a coup for the bird on the street.

But, now the candidates are flippin’ the bird all over the place.  Obama is now using Big Bird in an Anti-Romney ad and in stump speeches, and Romney countered with none other than the Count to show that 2 can play the same game!!  It’s obvious these guys are playing hardball.

This might sound funny, but Sesame Street is NOT laughing.  They do not want to be seen as endorsing either party and want all Sesame-Street-related ads pulled. The Obama Campaign is thinkin’ about it.

Guess that means Big Bird is down for the Count.

Morning Joe

I admit it.  I’m an addict.  The minute I get up in the morning I click on Morning Joe on MSNBC and smile to see the familiar morning gang huddled round the table.  Joe and Mika, Willie and Barnicle are just some of the early risers, though Willie is off to co-helm the 9am hour on the Today Show.

Morning Joe is sophisticated and smart TV, from its scrappy discussions and up-to-the minute debates to its cool bumpers and promos with great music and très hip “brewed by Starbucks” graphics.  It is head and shoulders above the other morning shows even though it doesn’t always get the ratings it deserves.

Yup, Joe is out there in right field and Mika sometimes needs to do a better job of reeling him in or cutting him off at the pass when he starts to rant, but the guests are top notch and the news is as fresh as the coffee.

Whether tackling the recent Brown/Warren debate and the missteps by both candidates, analyzing the latest Euro soccer stats or making chit chat author Mark Halperin about Emmy pressure, these knights of the round table are cool, candid and comprehensive in their approach to latest inside- and outside-the-beltway buzz.

And who thought I’d ever wake up to Joplin, Santana and Coldplay – especially in the breaks of a morning news show?  I salute the dudes who came up with the music, graphics and look & feel of Morning Joe.  It’s my kind of show.

I love the show as much as I love my morning coffee.  Cause if its way too early in my place, it’s definitely Morning Joe.

Candid Camera

I could spend my whole blog talking about all the dumb comments Mitt Romney made at that fundraiser, but I’d rather talk about the fact that anyone in the public eye better get used to the possibility of “personal stuff” going viral at any time.

The ability to take a quick pic and send it out to the world is literally a click or two away.  Just ask topless Kate, strip-poker super stud Harry or bong-sucking Michael Phelps.  Anyone who’s a brand (even for 15 minutes) is fair game for the paparazzi or just about any random dude with a smart phone.

Think about it.  It could be a cell phone, a camera with a telephoto lens or the world’s smallest tape recorder.  You don’t have to be James Bond to have the latest gadgets on hand.

So what does this mean for the Royal and not so royal?  It means you shouldn’t be naked unless you’re in a locked bathroom, you shouldn’t be smoking dope unless you’re in a locked bathroom and, if you’re Mitt Romney, you should basically stay in a locked bathroom.

It also means that even if you’re John Doe in a crowd you better figure on hundreds of cell phones or cameras that could catch you doing something naughty and share the pic on Facebook or Twitter in a nanosecond.  So you should think twice about having that drink with your flirty client, or mooning the world from the top of a tourist bus.  Because it just might be the world that gets to see you in all your glory.

There was a guy the Today Show flew in from London who sent a rambling love letter to a woman he knew.  She sent it to all her friends who, in turn, sent it to all their friends.  Bottom line is that it became the love letter that went global and the guy made headlines.

Yes, there are some folks who love the presence of the camera and you can find most of them on Bravo!  But, the rest of us?  Yup, behind a locked door!

Plenty of Ink

What’s with the tattoo thing? Do ink-lovers really think it looks good creeping out from a t-shirt neckline or slithering from a sleeve? What’s up with that? I’m in the ink biz (other ink) and think the whole tattoo concept is freaky.

The latest brew-ha-ha over blue centers around Chris Brown and his neck tattoo. It kinda looks a lot like his bruised and battered ex, Rihanna. But, Brown calls it “art.” More specifically a blend of “a sugar skull” linked to the Mexican celebration of the dead and “a MAC cosmetics design.” huh?

I don’t even get a heart, cupid or some lover’s name living on the side of your neck, let alone a giant battered face. If I woke up with that thing I’d be running to DC doc Tina Alster real fast to try to get it lasered off.

I really get “to each his own,” but don’t think I’ll ever learn to remotely like tattoos. I connect tattoos with Jews who were sent to concentration camps…not a pretty picture.

Chris Brown isn’t the only celeb with colored ink. There’s Angelina and Johnny Depp and Jesse James and David Beckham to name a few. Speaking of a few, Beckham’s arms, neck and back are coated with blue ink. And Audrina Partidge has a huge red strawberry and blue-greenish snake on the base of her neck. nice.

I asked my 26 year-old daughter if she likes guys with tattoos and she said, “doesn’t bother me.”

Maybe I can see (or hopefully not see) a really small tattoo on some covered body part, or an Olympic symbol if you actually make it to the Games, but what’s the gain for the pain?
I say get a custom decal made and live with a temporary tatt for a while before ever going near a tattoo parlor. Or, if you’re in love with ink, try a fountain pen.