The internet has profoundly changed the world we live in by creating movements and instigating revolutions, especially among the young. You can blame the former Vice President for wanting to get a piece of THAT action, can you?
According to a Pew Internet and American Life study, 22% of the American electorate used social networking sites to connect with candidates and campaigns in the last electoral cycle. Mainstream sites like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace combined with politicians and political action groups' own pages have combined to create a new way for potential voters to interact with candidates and campaigns.
The Pew study found that in the months leading up to the 2010 elections, Republicans caught up with Democrats in participation and presence on social networking sites.
"Among social networking site users, 40% of Republican voters and 38% of Democratic voters used these sites to get involved politically."
Many of the TEA Party protests that dotted the nation during the campaign season were organized on Web sites. Perhaps bridging the social networking gap may be an explaining factor for the GOP's gains in 2010.
An earlier study in 2008 found a sharp increase in American voters who claimed to use the internet to find election news, and that 1 in 5 internet users has posted political commentary online.
Elsewhere in the world the same sites are being used to organize democratic revolutions. Both Tunisia and Egypt recently experienced successful peaceful revolutions that were organized and aided by a strong presence on social networking sites.
The studies also found that social media users tend to be younger and more educated. The demographics of many Middle Eastern countries, including Egypt, are heavily skewed toward youth, and their education levels have improved.