Did you vote? Today is Election Day 2012 and political buzz around the nation continues to increase. Millions of Americans are consuming information about the politicians and issues that most concern them – and many of these people are also active online sharing the content that they feel is especially meaningful. As a result, most news and information outlets have been focused on facilitating social sharing on their web properties in unique new ways. One such outlet is C-SPAN, which has been providing public access to the government’s political process since 1979.
C-SPAN has long been an advocate of audience interaction, initially incorporating viewer calls during its cable television programs. It is only natural that C-SPAN.org has followed suit in looking for ways to innovate social sharing on their site during major 2012 political events including the Republican National Convention, the Democratic National Convention, and the presidential debates. Centralized “Hub” webpages were created for each type of event, which aggregate relevant video content. While ShareThis buttons were already being used to encourage visitors to share information on the site, there was also a desire to find a solution to enable users to share this video content more automatically.
After evaluating several options, the team at C-SPAN chose to implement ShareNow, a new ShareThis product that enables users to frictionlessly share after performing a one-time authentication into Facebook. The ShareNow tool was chosen partially because of its prominence (persistently “hovering” on the left hand side of the screen), and because of the transparency given to users regarding when a sharing event is triggered. Since ShareNow can be implemented by simply adding several lines of code to the body of the page, implementation time was minimal as well.
As a result, ShareNow became a major driver of social sharing to Facebook, generating almost 30% of all Facebook share events since the tool was implemented last August. During the days of the conventions and debates, C-SPAN experienced significant spikes in sharing across Twitter, Facebook, Google + and Email. Their monthly Social Quality Index (SQI) score, a ShareThis metric that evaluates the social quality of a site relative to the overall ShareThis network of 1.7M domains, increased from “8” to “9” out of a possible “10”.
While the results of the 2012 election are impossible to predict, there’s no question that social activity will continue to gain momentum even after today’s election results – both on C-SPAN and throughout the web. We will continue to keep you posted on new ways that social sharing is being used in the dialogue relating to this exciting election.