Have you ever really pondered the power of social media? In a prior life (at MyST), I actually spent a great deal of time doing just that. And recently, I saw another example, perhaps, of the power of social media in action.
A couple weeks ago, NBC News ran a story about a supreme court challenge to the words “under god” in the pledge of allegiance. The story included an online poll asking readers a single question:
Do you think the words “under God” should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance?
At the time I first saw the story (which was about six hours after it was published), there had been about 35,000 responses, with the following results:
- 14% in favor of removing the words,
- 86% against.
Well, I was disappointed with those results. (Yes, I’d like to see the pledge restored to it’s original wording, and our national motto restored to the original de facto motto, E pluribus unum.) So, I turned to Twitter to try to influence the results.
I spent about 10 minutes tweeting to like minded, highly influential Twitter users, each with hundreds of thousands of followers. My tweets were simple, for example:
— F. Andy Seidl (@faseidl) September 5, 2013
Then I forgot about the matter, until a couple of days later when I saw another reference to the story. This time, when I visited the story, the survey results had shifted. Dramatically.
Now, I know, correlation does not imply causation. Maybe 97% of NBC News readers really do want to remove “under god” from the pledge. Maybe 86% of the first 35,000 respondents were, coincidentally, from the 3% of readers that don’t favor changing the wording. Maybe the power of social media had no influence at all. But, maybe it did.