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Archive for November 2012

US election 2012: hug photo makes social media history

Posted Thursday, November 8th, 2012

A photograph of Barack Obama embracing his wife Michelle has become the most liked and re-tweeted post ever

The photograph of Barack Obama embracing his wife Michelle with the words “four more years” has set new records as the most liked and re-tweeted post in social media history.

Obama posted the image at 0416 GMT, effectively claiming victory over Mitt Romney in the US presidential race. Since then it has been re-tweeted nearly 700,000 times. More than 3.23 million people have liked the image on Facebook, with over 400,000 shares; more than 100,000 today were liking it every hour.

The unprecedented viral success of the post confirmed the role that social media played in the US presidential campaign, and abroad. In the past, election night ended when the losing candidate phoned the winner to concede defeat, with news of the “phone call” promptly leaked to news media.

Obama pinged his tweet soon after the television networks had called victory for him in the crucial swing state of Ohio. It was another two hours and 20 minutes before the president appeared in person and gave his formal victory address to ecstatic supporters in Chicago.

Obama’s photo – which shows him hugging his wife, eyes closed, against a cloudy and even stormy backdrop – has set the standard for future presidential victors. The photo appears to embody the president’s core values: trust, manliness, loyalty, love of family, and possibly even divine favour as well.

The post also gave an opportunity for the rest of the world to congratulate Obama personally. Often in their own languages. And, in a few cases, to tell him what a lousy president he is.

Another tweet, sent from Obama’s official account just before the “hug” image, also clocked up massive traffic, with almost 200,000 retweets. It read: “This happened because of you. Thank you.” There were more than 31 million election-related tweets on Tuesday night, making election night “the most tweeted about event in U.S. political history,” Twitter spokeswoman Rachael Horwitz told Reuters.

Hurricane Sandy sends social media in a spin

Posted Thursday, November 1st, 2012

A presidential election in 2008, social revolutions in the Middle East and now Hurricane Sandy.

Just as Facebook burst into the mainstream during Barack Obama’s first presidential election campaign, today Instagram, the photo-sharing app now owned by Facebook, is finding widespread use as the preferred storytelling medium of the biggest storm in decades to hit the east coast.

Ten photos per second are being posted to Instagram, as people snap photos from the window of their apartment buildings in New York, or retrieve and doctor old photos to make their artistic contribution to the Frankenstorm meme.

“I think this demonstrates how Instagram is quickly becoming a useful tool to see the world as it happens – especially for important world events like this,” said Kevin Systrom, chief executive and founder of Instagram.

Facebook and Twitter continue to be major communication channels for residents and visitors to the east coast letting family members know they are safe, or reporting on the water levels in their homes.

“We are OK,” was the most shared phrase on Facebook on Tuesday morning, followed by “power outage”, and “damage”.

The US’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, even directed people to communicate with each other via social media and text to relieve stress on mobile telephone networks.

Twitter demonstrated its good citizenship by posting instructions on how users could sign up to receive real-time storm updates from local and national government agencies via SMS, in the event that disrupted internet services interfere with the delivery of tweets to computers.

Google created an interactive Hurricane Sandy map that tracked the movement of the storm, and showed the location of power outages and emergency shelters.

All good until the phone charge dies and people can find a place to plug back in.

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