Facebook enhances timeline events with 'registered to vote'

The social network works to get out the vote by letting users post that they've registered to vote and share a story about where and why.

Screenshot of the U.S. Politics Facebook page. Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET
How to post "registered to vote" on your timeline. Facebook

Facebook users can post to their timelines that they have a new tattoo, they're learning how to play a new instrument, and other "life events;" and, as of today, they can also announce that they're registered to vote.

The social network is rolling out this new "life event" as the 2012 presidential election season heats up.

"Election Day in the United States is right around the corner and people are increasingly using Facebook to discuss candidates, campaigns, and critical issues facing the country," Facebook wrote in a blog post. "Starting today, you can add to your timeline that you registered to vote, and share your story about when, where or why you decided to register."

The way users post that they're registered is within their "status update" box. First, click on "life event," then scroll to "Travel & Experiences" and "Registered to Vote," click "save," and voila, it's posted. If users have not yet registered, links to their state's election authority can be found on the social network as well.

Facebook has been steadily working on getting out the vote for the past few months. In addition to partnering with Microsoft and Washington state to create an app that lets the state's residents register to vote via the social network , Facebook has also worked with CNN on a social app that lets users commit to voting while endorsing specific candidates and issues on their timelines.

Facebook said that today's new feature along with the Facebook-CNN app "will result in a more involved and informed citizenry ahead of Election Day."

A recent study by the University of California at San Diego showed that the social network wields enormous power in how users influence their friends. Researchers found that when users' clicked Facebook's "I Voted" button in the 2010 election, many of their friends were inclined to do the same. According to the researchers findings, 300,000 more voters went to the polls because of this button.

It will interesting to see if the "registered to vote" feature will have a similar result in getting more users to register before November's election.

About the author

Dara Kerr, a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area, is fascinated by robots, supercomputers and Internet memes. When not writing about technology and modernity, she likes to travel to far-off countries.

 

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