Election 2012 on Facebook: Chatter reaches new heights

The social network's "Talk Meter" finds more users than ever buzzed about Election Day, particularly those who are young, male, and in Washington, D.C.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam
2 min read
Facebook's voting hotspot map Screenshot by Donna Tam/CNET

While there's no telling how much impact Facebook had on U.S voters, the social network says its users talked a lot, creating more election buzz than ever.

There were 71.7 million election-related mentions in posts and comments in the U.S. yesterday, and 88.7 million globally, Facebook said today.

The company's data team used its "Talk Meter" to measure the chatter -- posts and comments -- around the election and, ranking them on a scale of 1 to 10, Facebook said. Election 2012 buzz came in at a 9.27. That compares to 8.95 for the 2008 presidential election.

Not surprisingly, the people who did the most chatting were under the age of 35 and living in the nation's capital.

The social network did more than ever with its get-out-the-vote blitz to promote the election. In addition to another "I Voted" campaign, Facebook built a real-time heat map that showed voting hot spots around the country, partnered with CNN on an "I'm Voting" app, and added voter registration as a preset "life event" on its Timeline. In July, Facebook partnered with Washington state to let users register to vote through a Facebook app.

It's hard to tell if any of these efforts got more Americans to the polls who wouldn't have gone otherwise. More than 9.6 million Facebook users signaled to their networks that they voted through the "I Voted" button Facebook, according to Facebook, which has about 171 million users in the U.S. This means a smaller percentage of users clicked "I Voted" than in 2008 when the network only had 33 million U.S. users. On that Election Day, there were 5.4 million clicks. The company isn't breaking out its number of voting-age members.

Nonetheless, Facebook says the activity around the election was higher than other U.S. events monitored by the social network this year. Although older users were more active on Facebook throughout the election -- most of the users who posted about the conventions and the debates were over the age of 35 -- younger Facebook users dominated the chatter yesterday.

News media reported a solid female voter turnout this year, but Facebook found that men were slightly more active than women on Facebook. Here's a breakdown of their Talk Meter rankings:

Men, overall - 9.39

Women, overall - 9.19

Men, ages 25-35 - 9.47

Men, ages 35-44 - 9.44.

Women, ages 25-34 - 9.27

Women, ages 35-44 - 9.21.

The social network also broke down the chatter geographically. Not surprisingly, the highest concentration was in Washington, D.C., which had a rating of 9.54. Here are the other cities and their scores in the top 10 of Facebook's Talk Meter, which, curiously, only has one swing state (maybe everyone was too busy biting their nails):

Mississippi - 9.40

Virginia - 9.38

Maryland - 9.37

Minnesota - 9.36

Delaware - 9.35

Alabama - 9.35

Louisiana - 9.34

Massachusetts - 9.32

Wisconsin - 9.3

Read more stats here.