It’s always sad to lose your (facebook) friends…

The 2012 Presidential Election is now over and the winner and loser are clearly defined. Obama won and Romney lost. People are still actively talking about Obama in both online and offline since he will govern the USA for four more years, and whether you like it or not, as a citizen of the USA, people will have to deal with Obama. However, Romney is not really actively discussed in offline world since he won’t actively engage in actual governance of the USA. Since November 10th, 2012, Romney’s social media pages are remaining as “frozen digital relics,” or no updates. However, his page still actively engaged in people’s lives— people are unliking him in a drastic speed.

In his article “Mitt Romney is losing 847 Facebook Friends Per Hour,” Kevin Collier, had compared Romney’s Social media page changes to Obama’s pages. Romney lost a lot of likes, and still losing the likes, and gained 17,601 more Twitter followers since he lost the election. In comparison, Obama gained 804,479 likes, and almost a million twitter followers followed Obama since the election day.

This drastic drop of likes for Romney was caused by several reasons. First, people want to manage their impressions in the online world, especially when your friends or anyone have an access to look at your profile filled with taste statements— being affiliated with a “loser,” and going against the president for next four years does not necessarily leave good impressions to others. Therefore, people do not mind spending their time to search Mitt Romney’s page, find the hidden “unlike” button, and click on it. But despite of this impression management issue, many faithful Romney supporters are keeping their “likes” and stating it as their taste statements. I was curious of the reason of still “liking” Romney, so I looked at my friends “like” dates of Romney on November 15th, 2012. My 18 facebook friends out 850, decided to show their support of Romney on their facebook page. and I could tell that they truly support Romney, because most of them “liked” Romney in the summer, early in the campaign period. So I was able to define them as people who actively express their support for the Republicans. Also, I do not remember the exact number of Romney likes before the election, but I remember that it was way more than 18, which means many had unliked him.

However, I found something new from my own mini-research. 5 of my friends liked both Obama and Romney on the same date, all during October, and they are still maintaining the likes for both. From this, I was able to infer the second cause of the drop. Many people used social media pages as sources of information and updates, not necessarily to show their identity. I believe many of purple voters liked both candidates to help themselves in making up their minds, and probably “unliked” Romney after the election, the day when they made the final decisions of whom to support.

I think Social Media had played even bigger role in this election than the Election 2008 due to the increase in number of users, and the increase of the effects of social media in people’s lives. Because these social media pages were so useful to voters as well, so many more people were engaged in utilizing them than the election 2008. What will happen to Romney’s facebook, twitter, instagram pages in next few months, other than more unlikes? He may recreate a new one to start new impressions, or maybe not use them until he starts to run for another government job. Anyway, I hope his page won’t look like this in four years, because this is kind of sad: John McCain’s Myspace page, and the last comment was from four years ago.


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