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Social Media and the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election

This study’s assessment of the role that social media played during the 2008 US presidential campaign confirms some widely held tenets of conventional wisdom about social media, but it also indicates that the role of social media as the new sine qua non of American politics is far from certain. While there is no shortage of examples of ways in which social media such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook played a facilitating role in the unfolding of the 2008 election, there is little hard evidence that any of these social media venues actually drove discussion, participation, or outcomes.

This report was originally published by the Society for New Communications Research, which officially merged with The Conference Board in January 2016.

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