There are many people who look back at 2008 as the first real “social media election”. Barack Obama arguably used social networks more effectively than any politician before him, and his savvy digital campaigning helped take him to the White House.

Now, four years later, this infographic takes a look at social media’s impact on politics, tracing it to the current state of political social campaigning.

Internet marketing firm Vertical Measures begins the exploration of social politics at Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. Both harnessed the mediums available to them – radio and TV respectively – to connect more fully with the US electorate. Then, in 2008, Barack Obama came along.

Obama is sometimes called “the first internet president”, and the title fits. According to the infographic, 24 percent of Americans learned about his campaign through the internet, a number that was nearly double the 14 percent figure from four years prior.

Obama’s YouTube channel, which his team relied on extensively to reach the younger demographic, garnered over 14.5 million hours of viewing, a figure which would apparently be worth $47 million of TV spending.

And the juggernaut that is Obama’s social media campaign didn’t end when his first term began: since 2008, Obama has grown his Twitter followers from 112,474 to 19,917,434 and his Facebook fans from 2,379,102 to 28,739,528.

Romney has embraced social too, sending an average of one tweet per day and uploading one video to his YouTube channel per day. He’s behind Obama’s 29 tweets and four videos per day, but his campaign was the first to buy a trending topic on Twitter (#RomneyRyan2012).

Take a look at this infographic below for more on how social media is shaping politics:

(Infographic courtesy of ; Vote button image via Shutterstock)