We all knew the election was going to be a HUGE topic on Facebook and Twitter but this was the first election in which Instagram has been in the picture. As an avid Instagramer, I noticed an extreme increase in photos on Election Day. The day after the election, my observations were confirmed by Mashable in the article, “Obama’s Re-Election Was Big On Instagram, Too,” which states that the rate of Instagram uploads increased 2.1 times their usual rate! Over 100,000 photos were tagged as “#iVoted” while 150,000 photos were tagged “#election2012.”
All day long my feed was filled with people and their “I Voted” stickers. Even some ballots were insta’d (which apparently is illegal in certain states). What I thought was most interesting was immediately following Obama being announced as winner, photos of the lit-up Empire State Building were uploaded. It was pretty cool to keep refreshing the hashtag “empirestatebuilding” on Instagram and to see photo after photo pop up, almost instantaneously.
To me, this really goes along with the concept of disembedding. People were joining in on the Election Day hashtags and sharing their own content, with irrelevance to their geographic position. Furthermore, anyone in the world could view these hashtags and see what was going on in the United States. It didn’t seem like a big deal when so many Empire State Building instagrams were uploaded (because I live so close) but think about people on the other side of the country who were able to see all via Instagram. A few years ago, the most anyone outside of Manhattan would’ve seen of the Empire State Building was a photograph on the news or in the newspaper. Social networking sites have exponentially increased the speed at which information is spread globally. Additionally, they foster a sense of community among users. It’s no wonder usage spiked on Instagram on Election Day!