Facebook, Twitter and Other Social Media Play Bigger Role in Election

When it comes to his presidential opponent, Republican Donald Trump wants to #LockHerUp. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's supporters are standing their ground days before the election, declaring #ImWithHer.

More than in any previous presidential election, experts say, social media are playing a key role in the fight for voters' hearts and minds. About 44 percent of U.S. adults learned about the presidential election from a social networking site, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center this year.

Town halls and rallies are still important, but the front lines in the battle for the White House are shifting as more people consume news on social media.

"Social media is more of a doorway to the rest of the campaign. You get your hardcore supporters to follow you on Twitter and Facebook, and the goal from that point is to get them to share your stuff with their friends," said Laura Olin, who was the social media director for President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign and now works at marketing consultant Precision Strategies.

"A message they get from their friend is more compelling then a message they would get from a campaign."

From January to October, 109 million Americans on Facebook generated 5.3 billion likes, posts, comments and shares about the election, according to the company. Campaigns are also tapping into the audiences on Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn and other sites.

But voters are skeptical about the information they read on social media, and some political scientists question how effective the flurries of text, photos and videos are at swaying undecided voters. When discussing politics with someone who doesn't share the same views, about 59 percent of social media users found it stressful and frustrating, while only 35 percent found it interesting and informative, a recent Pew survey found.

Some voters, such as San Ramon...

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