New media have entered the picture and candidates' online social presence is just as, if not more, likely to affect voting. Sixty percent of social media users responding to a Digitas survey in October 2011 said they expect candidates to have a social media presence; for almost 40 percent, information found on social media will help determine their voting choices as much as traditional media sources like TV or newspapers. For anyone doubting that a social media message is fleeting, 94 percent of social media users of voting age watched a political message in its entirety on a social media site and 39 percent then went on to share it with an average of 130 other users, according to a May 2011 study by Social Vibe.
Engagement level is the key measurement of social media success for a candidate, according to Alexander Howard, Gov 2.0 correspondent for O'Reilly Media. That means that the number of Twitter followers or Facebook fans a candidate has is not nearly as important as their social media interactions with supporters, how many people share the candidate's message with their own network, and how much attention beyond social media (in outlets like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN) those actions receive. Howard disagrees with the axiom that all publicity is good publicity, and the same goes for engagement. "Look at what happened with Anthony Weiner," Howard told PCMag.