I voted in the Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial Primary this morning. I can honestly say I wouldn’t have done that if I weren’t on Twitter/Facebook, etc. Somewhere along the way I saw a targeted add on Facebook for Terry McAuliffe, one of the Democratic Nominees, so I became a fan. I’ve always had a casual interest in politics, and make it a point to vote in November. I’ve never voted in a primary, though.

While Mr. McAuliffe’s Facebook page got the topic of the race on my mind, I don’t think I’ve visited the page since. It did bring me to search for related chatter on Twitter though, soon I was following him and the two other candidates, Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran, as well as a host of regional pundits such as FakeVirginia and VAGovernor. For the candidates, it was great to see the personalities come through. For the pundits, I didn’t always agree, but it’s a great forum for discussion.

There’s been much discussion about social media in the Obama Campaign. My cohort, Brian Gracely, wrote about it for a marketing class in the Spring. I know in my case, that whole campaign did nothing to change my mind one way or another. (Perhaps I wasn’t the target).  The use of Twitter in this context – a lower level election – is intriguing. I think this is the real effect Social Media can have on an election – personality connection and real-time interactive feedback. The presidential election is too grand to notice any real impact of these new tools. It seems obvious that this will be a trend going forward. I think there’s an interesting distinction to be made for the scale of the election.

People always ask me what the point of Twitter is. I think this is one concrete example I can give in the future. It only works if people participate, however.