Facebook tried adding an “I voted” button to accounts of users over 18 years old, and the test turned in encouraging results. Apparently, expressing mere intention to vote via social media makes people more likely to do so in real life.
There were two different “I voted” messages — one featuring friends’ photos and one without. Unsurprisingly, the message without friends attached was less effective. According to TechCrunch, however, the status with friends boosted turnout by 2.2%. The margin might seem slim, but with presidential elections growing ever closer, and with Facebook’s millions of (American) users, that percentage makes a difference.
Also cool, if not as historically important as social media having a direct influence on voting, is the map that appears after clicking the “I voted” status. Facebook subsequently showed a real-time map displaying voting levels around the country. For the record, this trial voter button didn’t appear on our newsfeed, which is annoying, since we’d like to click and get access to those results! If you had access to this test, did you feel it influenced you? Do you like the resulting heat map? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.