It had an impact. Conservative journalist David Freddoso just published a new book, Spin Masters: How the Media Ignored the Real News and Helped Reelect Barack Obama. "Don't think for a minute that the Dog-on-a-car-roof story didn't damage Romney," Freddoso laments, noting that a Public Policy Polling survey indicated 35% of respondents said it made them less likely to vote for Romney.
Social media are powerful tools. No other type of media connects more Americans, and gives them the means to participate more actively (and easily) in defending and protecting their rights and the rights of others.
According to Pew Research Center's latest American Life Project study, half of all Americans now use social networks. 39 percent report seeing their friends talking about politics in social networks, and 19 percent talk about politics themselves.
|On Watchdog Causes' Facebook page, the viral sharing|
of our 15,000 members enabled this message supporting
marriage equality to reach over 104,000 people.
Can social media activism change people's minds? Yes, it can. Pew says 16 percent of American social network users overall report having changed their minds about a social or political issue after seeing information in social networks. We saw this with our own eyes, thousands of times, on Dogs Against Romney's page during the 2012 election.
Is it (the power of social media) just an election year phenomenon? Not at all. Right after the election, we created Watchdog Causes, a new social media activism organization with a broad scope. We wanted to take what we learned during the 2012 election and apply it other important issues.
We launched with marriage equality as our first cause and quickly grew to over 15,000 members. Their engagement with the issue was very high ("engagement" is defined by members' "liking," commenting and sharing behavior online). Through viral sharing, we reached over 400,000 people with our message. One post alone reached over 104,000 people.
Our forthcoming book, SUPER PACK: How Dogs Changed the 2012 Election: The Coming Age of Social Media Activism, will provide a roadmap for future online activists to participate fully in the positive social change of America.