Losers don’t vote – A guide to following some social-media enhanced election coverage

I shot the video of me
voting last week (or, if it’s illegal
to shoot such video, I found it
by the side of the road).

Of the 4 million registered voters in Tennessee, 1.5 million of us voted before the official election day. I was one of them. I don’t know who came up with early voting, but I salute them. The system is very accommodating — it starts 20 days before the election and lasts until 5 days before the election — and includes Saturday voting. During the early voting period, there are limited polling places and sometimes lines form, but the convenience far outweighs the hassles.

But still, there’s only one election day every four years. On the social media front, a lot has happened since the previous election, so there’s plenty of experimentation taking place this year. There are numerous ways to follow the activities, observations and reports of bloggers and users of Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and other platforms of self-expression. Here are just a few (and it will grow during the day on Tuesday):

electionbutton.jpg

A free cup of Joe the Coffee: If you haven’t done so already, go vote. Then go by any Starbucks and ask for a free cup of coffee. And then head over to Krispy Kreme and ask for a free donut. And then go to Ben & Jerrys and ask for free ice cream. No kidding. They’re all giving a way free stuff. Compare which line is longer.

WKRN’s Nashville is Talking & Nashville Post’s Post Politics:For my hometown friends, I recommend checking out what Christian Grantham, the blooger and Twitterist at WKRN’s Nashville is Talking, has mashed up on that site. There are several RSS-powered and API-enabled doo-dads that display on one page, lots of what Nashville’s talkeratis will be saying all Election Day. Also, as I’ve said before, the hardest working man in Nashville political coverage of the blogosphere is A. C. Kleinheider at NashvillePost.com’s Post Politics. [Later] I just noticed that the Nashville page of Outside.in is also doing a good job catching and displaying Nashville-related blog posts, news and photos.

Election.Twitter.com: If you want to get some form of Twitter vertigo, check out Election.Twitter.com, an animated scroll of “tweets” related to the election. It’s a rather fire-hose approach.

Google’s Election 2008 resources: Tired of just two candidates? Google.com/2008election treats candidates from third (fourth and fifth) parties with the same search-powered features as McCain and Obama. Starting at 6 p.m. Eastern, the same URL will become home to mash-up maps that display precinct-by-precint voting data.

YouTube’s Video Your Vote page: Upload a video of your voting experience to YouTube’s Video Your Vote page.

Twitter Voter Report: Having problems voting? Via Twitter, report them here.

Memeorandum: Want to know what the political-bloggers are discussing? The “Techmeme” of politics is Memeorandum. (However, I’ve been a fan and friend of its founder Gabe Rivera for long enough to realize that Techmeme is the “Memeorandum of technology,” rather than the other way around.)

This list will continue to grow.

  • Bill Hudgins

    The offers of free coffee, etc. in exchange for voting are illegal.

  • Bill, you will notice I did not say that you had to tell them you have voted to get the free stuff. I believe they’ve all changed their promotion to comply with the law.

  • I am seeing an amazing BURST of activity around the election over the past two months from amongst my 30-something and 40-something aged cohorts on facebook. It started just with people trading article links, funny videos and quips about the election but then a weird thing started happening — the increased activity fed on itself and everybody is posting more about everything, kids out for Halloween pictures, links on all manner of topics, holiday planning for turkey day etc. I wonder if it’s a permanent uptick, like people figured out the value of FB from following the election and now they’ll keep on keeping on.

  • Aaron, interesting observation. I think that a greater percentage of high school and college students have been captivated by this election because they believe (frankly, as do I) they are participating in something historic. Facebook is how they do everything, so I guess it’s not surprise they’d use it to express their excitement about this particular political moment. As for those in the 30-40 crowd, I find your observation interesting. Has this campaign become a “gateway” experience for them? Will whatever motivated them to finally do something “social” online related to the election carry over into other forms of expression? Now that you put it that way, I think it might. I hope so.