Decision 2012 is officially made and President Barack Obama will serve four more years as our nation’s leader. If you were like any of us here at Digital Trends, you were probably glued to Twitter, apps, and various news sources for the latest election updates. And like most current events as told by social media, there was a lot of information to sift through that made us laugh, cry, and even proud to be Americans — and for taking the opportunity to exercise our freedom of speech.
Fools clinging to relevance
The amount of incoherent tweets from absent-minded people could not have made our office laugh any louder. The superstar troll this season, and maybe every political season, easily goes to Donald Trump, who tweeted: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Wait, is that supposed to be radical? Global warming isn’t a scientific issue, and Hurricane Sandy was just a random and devastating fart from the clouds?
Then, after Barack Obama was declared re-elected, good ol’ Don had the nerve to call the poll results BS and say America is not a democracy… even though the president won by a significant popular vote as well. Try harder, Mr. Trump.
Sarah Palin’s hair disaster
We swear this isn’t a way to be sexist because we’d absolutely point out if John McCain appeared on television with a horrible toupee, but our jaws dropped when Sarah Palin appeared on Fox News last night looking… well, different. During the 2008 campaigns, we remembered her as a relatively put-together woman with her hair neatly held back and a possible Bumpit hidden under that volumized poof. Last night, Palin proved that the recently released photo of her in big 80s hair, off-shoulder cropped top, and wedge heels while shopping at Kmart in Los Angeles isn’t just a phase. She’s officially lost it.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s patriotism
This was a hard call — does this gem belong under the Laugh or the Proud sections? We’re pretty happy for Arnold Schwarzenegger on his road to citizenship, but we don’t think we’ve ever seen anyone go this all out when they first received their United States passport. It’s adorable, sweet, personable, but let’s face it: It’s also hilarious. Were you inspired to go out and vote after this photo? And for the green card holders, are you aspiring for the same kind of celebration one day? Oh, sweet, sweet Arnold.
Inventive ways to follow the election
Back in the day (and by that we mean two elections ago) people used to sit around and actually watch television to keep up with state tallies and news analytics. These days, we have apps, widgets, even an HTML5-infused comic strip to help illustrate the journey of how we got to Election Day 2012. Following the elections has never been so interactive, creative, and dare we say, fun, to keep up with … in an effortless manner, no less. We are continually stunned by how app developers, Web designers, and graphic artists manage to find ways to make all this information digestible and approachable depending on your personal interests and styles.
Obama hits Reddit one last time
In the late afternoon of Election Day 2012, the POTUS decided that since he already had an account on Reddit, he might as well put it to good use to garner some last-minute Internet followers’ votes. “Think of it as upvoting,” he writes in a completely relevant and connected way to target his Reddit audience. He even referenced the viral Not Bad rage face. If there’s anything we learned this political season, it’s that the Web should also be considered a campaign stop, and probably the most cost-efficient one as well.
Amazing political discourse on Quora
Quora is a great place to hit up when you’ve got questions you’re dying to find a logical, reasonable answer to, and the open-minded discussions on that site made us truly proud of our fellow American Netizens. Especially when the question was as simple as “What is President Barack Obama like in person?” It’s hard to envision any politician as a regular guy, but Peter Marquez, a former White House director for Space Policy (who’s also a republican), managed to do it in a completely unbiased manner. The discussion adds a sense of familiarity and a new personable level that reveals a different side to the president. Whether or not this had to do with your voting decision is another story, but we’re proud of the Internet nonetheless for using resources in a respectful and insightful way.
Social media trends soar
Twitter is one of the biggest go-to sources for real-time reactions to current events, from the Super Bowl to Hurricane Sandy updates. Decision 2012 was no different. Members of the social media world took to Twitter and Facebook to encourage friends to vote and make their voices heard, noting that you can’t complain about losing if you don’t vote. According to the latest Twitter update, about 31 million tweets were shared yesterday, hitting a peak of 327,452 Tweets per minute – right around when the president was declared re-elected.
Pepsi commercials and celebrity endorsements might be cool for most social issues, but Twitter takes the cake on spreading the word this election season (on top of the president himself on Reddit). It was also nice to see politicians offer congratulatory remarks to the president, and thanking voters for their support.
But of course, social media’s power did not come without hiccups, which brings us to our next segment…
Instagramming your ballots
We get it, Instagram is everywhere. It’s in your local restaurant, bus stop, park, airport, and it’s an overall visual way to chronicle your life. But do explain to us what is so awesome about a piece of paper that shows you’ve voted? Are we going to start encouraging high school students to Instagram their SAT scores now? We know you mean well by proving your civic engagement, but we’re pretty sure no one would lie about taking part in democracy at a crucial time. Consider your voice heard, and keep those ballot photos to yourself. After all, it actually is illegal to photograph your voting booth in several states.
Google searches for “Who’s running for president” spike
Really, America? You waited until the last possible moment to figure out who the presidential nominees are this year or when election day is? It’s one thing to be undecided till the last minute, but completely clueless is unforgivable. This misguided, uninformed, careless inactiveness is everything that’s wrong with America. If you had to search on the day of the elections, we have to cry over the fact that people like you have the power to vote.
#VoteBlack and #VoteWhite hashtags remind us racism still exists
Let’s just get one thing straight in America: Barack Obama is not the first African American man to ever run for president. Turning this election into a race-based decision is as good as Donald Trump’s repeated taunts and challenges to bully Obama for his birth certificate and college transcript: Degrading, tasteless, and offensive. Worse, some of the offending tweets with the hashtag offered completely inappropriate remarks, showing just how vile people can be.
We had to blur out some horrible vernacular, but you can use your imagination as to what these words might have been. Thankfully, plenty of other tweets with the same hashtags shared our sense of disgust. Guess what, haters?
Technology is the clear loser in the elections
We obviously love, live, and breathe technology here at Digital Trends, but we have to admit: Real world instances of tech did not fare well during the elections whatsoever. A touchscreen voting machine in Pennsylvania seems to have spazzed out and auto-changed Obama votes to Romney. New Jersey’s email voting option backfired on residents because county email inboxes couldn’t handle the requests. Even if we can vote online, the opportunity opens e-voters to fraud and will make it that much harder to accurately tally the polls. Although we’re in this to help society advance, it seems the ol’ paper ballot is still the trustworthy method.