How to cut through social media noise on Election Night

CBS News political director John Dickerson and CBS News political reporter and producer Sarah Boxer check in on Twitter during coverage of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL.
CBS News

There is little doubt that since the 2008 election, social media has played a critical role throughout political campaigns. But how to navigate the endless trends, memes, feuds, and gaffes to get the best of Twitter on Election Night? "CBS This Morning" spoke with several CBS journalists covering the election to find out.

CBS News Political Director John Dickerson touched on the increasing importance placed on Twitter within the political arena. Recalling the days when a wire service was the campaign and campaign reporter's first stop for breaking news, Dickerson said, "In the same way campaigns had to monitor the wires and the political correspondents of the major papers in the old days to see how the pack was going to shape a story, the campaigns had to watch Twitter to see if they were losing the news cycle."

And Tuesday night will be no different. Twitter's own head of government, news, and social innovation, Adam Sharp, said that he expects voters will use Twitter "to get closer to the issues, the events and the people of the election in a way they never could before." Sharp added that the ability to engage with campaign staffers, pundits, and even candidates themselves that Twitter provides "gets back to a model of traditional retail politics, playing out in a completely new way."

"CBS This Morning" co-host Norah O'Donnell anticipates, "Twitter will be a critical tool in hearing from citizens who, on the ground, are reporting things like voting problems, long lines, or other irregularities." Dickerson says he'll use the platform to "watch the observations of a very few really smart political reporters, civilians and political scientists."

As part of CBS News' multi-platform original reporting on Election Night 2012, CBS journalists on the campaign trail and in the newsroom will provide their insight and up-to-the-minute coverage on Twitter. To stay informed, be sure to follow #Campaign2012 and follow:

  • Norah O'Donnell: O'Donnell said Twitter will be "especially useful as results come in from some of the important swing states." Tuesday night, Norah will be covering election results live with Scott Pelley, Bob Schieffer, and John Dickerson.  
  • John Dickerson: CBS News Political Director, who will also join Norah O'Donnell, Scott Pelley, and Bob Schieffer on election night, said "Twitter is a great place for sharing good journalism quickly." But, he warned, "It's also a place for ridiculous rumor, silly context-free fights and misinformation." 
  •  Jan Crawford: will report from Mitt Romney's campaign headquarters in Boston, MA. 
  • Nancy Cordes: will report from President Obama's Chicago, Illinois, headquarters. 
  • Sarah Huisenga: CBS News/ National Journal Campaign 2012 Reporter covering the Romney campaign. Huisenga will be at Mitt Romney's campaign headquarters in Boston, MA Tuesday night. Follow her for color and real time updates from the Romney HQ. 
  • Sarah Boxer: The CBS News political reporter and producer will be on set with John Dickerson Tuesday night; she'll be in touch with both sides in their HQ's and all the battleground states.   

Don't forget will live-stream the network's coverage and feature up-to-the minute election results and original reporting on national and statewide races throughout the night.