Impact of social media on elections

(KATV) - Tuesday is expected to be a big day for social media, and we'll be monitoring the candidates' conversations on Facebook and Twitter. It's their last chance to get their messages out and motivate supporters to vote.

Over the past four years, there's been a huge increase in the number of people using social media to talk politics.

For example in 2008, there were somewhere around 2 million Twitter users. Now, there are around 40 million.

Social media has become the most convenient and powerful way for candidates, across the country and here in Arkansas, to instantaneously engage with voters.

"People are really using that to push their messages and their candidates. and get people out to vote," says Emily Reeves.

Reeves is the Director of Digital Strategy and Planning at Stone Ward. She says while candidates are using social media to push their messages, voters are using these sites to research where candidates really stand on the issues.

Reeves says, "they're using those social channels to feel like they're getting some truer opinions from people like them rather than just advertising messages from the candidates."

She adds, "From a local standpoint you're seeing a lot of the candidates talk back and forth with those voters answering some of those questions... giving them more accessibility to the voters."

Social media has become a huge campaign tool...a direct link to voters.. and some believe it could have an even greater effect... actually helping to increase the number of people who vote.

"people want to see their friends and family out there voting. so they're going to be pushing it. that's one of the things we'll definitely be looking at on election day is how voter turnout is affected by social media," says Reeves.

Emily Reeves will be with us Tuesday night for our election coverage. We'll be looking at how candidates are using social media to get those last minute votes.