Election 2012: Is this the year social media adopters will reign supreme?

Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich speaks during his 'Jobs Here, Jobs Now' tour
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
(CBS/ What's Trending) - When you think of Newt Gingrich, you think of the Republican Speaker of the House, whose strong, traditional values always influenced his decisions. You definitely don't think of him as a social media pioneer. Yet, Gingrich announced his candidacy through a tweet on his official Twitter account and included a link to his official statement, which was uploaded on YouTube.

He's not the only potential candidate adopting social media. Herman Cain, who came into the spotlight last week when many pundits announced that he was the winner of the first GOP debate, already has a dominating presence on the platform. President Obama might have been one of the few candidates managed to use social media to his advantage in 2008, but if this current move to use the online world as campaign strategy is any indication, it seems that the battle for the presidency in 2012 will be fought on the digital battleground.

John McCain's tech illiteracy was the butt of many jokes in the tech world, and it seems that potential candidates are doing anything they can to avoid his mistakes.

Ron Paul, who had a failed bid for the Republican ticket in 2008, raised more than a million dollars in an online, one-day fundraising drive. Although he is only expected to officially join the race on Friday, his actions show he already knows the value of the interwebs.

And, Sarah Palin, another potential candidate who hasn't stated her official decision for 2012, has already been adopted as a spokesperson for the online Tea Party community. They constantly retweet her sayings, denoting them with appropriate hash tags for other fellow followers to find. It also helps that she knows what makes viral material, from uploading funny YouTube videos of her antics to participating in (failed) reality TV shows like "Sarah Palin's Alaska."

Obama may have been the undisputed leader in social media campaign techniques a few years ago, but with other people hungry for the top job stepping up their efforts, he's going to have to step up his game.
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