Social networking sites are undeniably popular. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are
among the top ten most popular sites globally (Alexa, 2015). Facebook celebrated its tenth
birthday with over one billion active users worldwide (Sedghi, 2014). In the United States, 72%
of Internet users are on Facebook (Duggan, 2015).
The impact of social media on political campaigns has been the focus of several recent
books (Gainous & Wagner, 2014; Stromer-Galley, 2014) and articles (e.g., Hargittai & Shaw,
2013; Towner, 2013). The publications are critical for illuminating campaign’s use of social
media in the United States. The books employ personal interviews, content analysis, and survey
data to examine the role of social media in election campaigns. At the 2015 APSA meeting, six
presentations illustrated the use of social media in election campaigns in the United States and
globally (see presentations by Sarah Pickard, Rosalyn Southern, Michael J. Jensen, Shannon
McGregor, Rachel Gibson, Cristian Vaccari). None of these studies mention the American
National Election Study as a source of information about social media use during election
campaigns. I would like to propose questions for inclusion in the 2016 Pilot Study. These
questions would establish the prevalence of social media use for creating connections between
citizens and the variety of political actors in election campaigns.