Rock, I mean Like, the Vote

1 May

Today SocialTimes introduced me to Likester, a new site which keeps track of real time trends on social media sites, particularly Facebook.  (Think of it as following hash tags to the nth degree.)  Although Likester also allows users to see trends within their group of friends, it’s bigger (and cooler) impact is in allowing people to understand what’s going on globally (and instantaneously).  As they say in About Likester:

What people are liking right now is really interesting, and worth calling out and celebrating. It’s usually very different from what they’ve liked since the beginning of time. Whatever trends are happening, anywhere in the world, you’ll likely be able to find evidence of them here. While we won’t attempt to explain them, some research likely would. You can filter trends by time period, such as “today”, and you can further filter by category (“People”, or “Websites”), as well as by any combination of city, state, or country. So you can see what restaurants are hot in Paris, France today. Or what websites people like this month in Seattle, Washington, United States. The possibilities are endless.

You all know how enthusiastic I am about the archival of the Internet.  But, this is even better, because it’s happening in real time and can have real time implications.  According to Social Times:

Do you want to be on top of the latest American Idol predictions? Then head over to Likester because the web site has successfully predicted the bottom three contestants on American Idol, as well as successfully predicting that Stefano Langone would be eliminated. 

Admittedly, that’s a silly example of Likester’s power.  But, swap picking the losing candidates of American Idol for picking the losing candidates of a national election and you’ll see the impact that Likester can have.  It allows for real time data about what people actually think and like (or at least what they want their friends to think that they think and like…), which has got to be better than the lies that they tell to pollsters.

Likester (and the million other services like it that are soon to be with us) will allow us to see what amounts to polling data instantaneously and probably to get predictions of returns way before the news networks are able to announce them.  (I always get my results online anyway – way faster, especially for local things, to go directly to the county Board of Elections sites and do a little bit of math.)

But, what does this mean for Canada?!  (Yes, I know you’re all very concerned about Canada…)  Last week SocialTimes had an article that reported that tweeting, or in any way disclosing, election results in Canada before the polls close could get you a $25,000 fine.  (I would make a joke about it being $25,000 Canadian dollars, but now that their money’s worth more than ours, that’s not so much fun.)  But, that law applies to individuals.  I don’t think that they could fine Likester or any other service that was just reporting on the whims of the crowd, even if that reporting amounted to announcing the results early.  As the SocialTimes article concluded:

While it’s certainly important to try and keep the democratic process as equal, even, and fair as possible, social media is changing politics, and while some of those changes are for the worse, there is at least one that’s for the better: people are tweeting, status updating, and talking about politics. In a era where voter turnout has been steadily declining, can that really be considered a bad thing?

I agree – I’m all for making the process more engaging and interactive and for finding the data where it already exists.  Now I think I’m going to go sign up for Likester so that my vote, erm voice, can be counted.  (Unfortunately, it’s currently an opt-in only service.  I get the privacy concerns, but  opt-in really hurts crowd sourcing efforts.)  So, if you see a lot of status updates about political candidates and reality shows, you’ll know why.


MaggieCakes is a blog about culture, social media, and what’s new in the world of Internet culture. Every day (okay, I try for every day) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about Internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. MaggieCakes is hosted by WordPress and often draws upon Slate, Jezebel, The Hair Pin, and SocialTimes for links and inspiration. My post Social Media and the Art of Storytelling was featured on Freshly Pressed, bringing a while new readership to my blog. Find anything interesting in the worlds of culture or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at 2maggieotoole@gmail.com.

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