Facebook heat map visualizes bursts of voting activity around the country

It’s Election Day in America and citizens everywhere are proudly telling their friends, and anyone online who will listen, that they voted. In an attempt to measure the action and encourage more people to vote, Facebook is today promoting a message atop U.S. members’ News Feeds and asking them to click an “I’m Voting” button, and tracking these special status updates in real-time.

The social network set up its version of an Election Day headquarters with a live heat map that displays, in aggregate, where people are voting around the country. According to Facebook, “the map displays bursts of activity as people share that they’re voting,” with the size of each burst correlating with the number of people voting in a particular region.

Facebook’s voting page also highlights votes per hour, the number of men and woman voters, and voters by age. Interestingly enough, at the time of this story, female voters outnumbered male voters by a near 2:1 ratio, and the most active demographic is the 25 to 34-year-old group.

The tool is part of Facebook’s commitment to encourage its members to vote, the company said in a note posted to its U.S. Politics Page. Along with the “I’m voting” prompt, Facebook is also once again helping members locate their polling location, an action the company believes will get more people to the polls.

According to a study by the University of California, San Diego, Facebook’s messaging efforts helped encouraged roughly 333,000 more people to vote during the 2010 midterm elections. More than 12 million people clicked the Facebook vote button during that election.

Facebook isn’t the only social network working around the clock on Election Day to tally status updates. Twitter and Topsy partnered to do a little more heavy-lifting and determine the sentiment behind all tweets related to the U.S. presidential election. You can use the Twindex tool to follow the mood of the nation live on Twitter today.

Photo credit: voteprime/Flickr


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