The 2008 presidential election was Twitter’s for the taking. Sure, then-Senator Barack Obama won the presidential race, but in the world of social media, Twitter — still a novice at just two years old — was virtually unchallenged.
Four years later, the roar coming out of the Twittersphere made 2008 sound like a purr. Mere minutes after the first news organizations had declared Obama the victor (and many, many minutes before Governor Mitt Romney finally conceded), the POTUS tweeted out a heart-melting photo of him and First Lady Michelle Obama with a simple message: “Four more years.” The tweet caught on like wildfire, quickly becoming the most-shared post ever with more than 700,000 retweets (the same photo received nearly 3.6 million likes on Facebook).
Four more years. twitter.com/BarackObama/st…
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 7, 2012
And while the social media giant surely made its presence known, a social media newbie made its voice heard as a formidable opponent: Instagram.
Voters everywhere — particularly the social media-savvy 18- to 29-year-olds — used the Polaroid-like app to share much — at times, a bit too much. Users documented every single minute of their voting experience, from the “I Voted” stickers and long polling lines to the patriotic tube socks and the obligatory presidential salt-and-pepper set. While it just celebrated its second birthday in October, Instagram proved Tuesday night that it’s not just a method for hipster-fying your Starbucks caramel mocha latte.
Instagrammers left very little to the imagination and disregarded the unspoken rule of keeping your vote to yourself. In fact, many risked legal action when they posted photos of their completed ballots. (In Wisconsin, for example, sharing your marked ballot with anyone is a Class 1 felony, punishable by “up to 18 monthis in prison and a $10,000 fine, according to the Associated Press.) Fox News personality Sean Hannity did the same thing on Twitter when he shared a photo of his marked ballot. In his state of New York, it’s considered a misdemeanor.
With all these minute-by-minute updates and at times brazen sharing, it came as no surprise that singer and ardent Obama supporter Beyoncé finally hopped aboard the Instagram bandwagon Tuesday night. The singer made her Instagram debut in an unapologetically political T-shirt that read “Texans for Obama” (and completed the look with some Instagram-friendly glasses). She followed up her inaugural photo with one that celebrated Obama’s victory” “Take that, Mitches.”