The 2016 presidential election is the contest the internet built. Or, less glibly, the internet opened up new ways for both the candidates and the American electorate to channel their political energies, which changed the nature of the contest. Imagine what the 2016 election would have looked like without Twitter, Facebook, or leaked videos gone viral; without push notifications, campaign chatbots, or online election forecasts. You can’t. That’s why on Election Day itself, WIRED is reporting from the digital front lines, the place where in many ways the presidency is being decided.
We will be updating our Election Day liveblog all day and into the night to understand the state of the race and the citizens whose votes will decide the outcome. WIRED has partnered with Networked Insights, a Chicago-based social media firm, to gauge the feelings and intentions of Americans as they go to the polls and await the returns. Networked Insights’ analysts will draw social data from sites, blogs, and platforms like Twitter and Tumblr to get a real-time sense of which way voters seem to be leaning in battleground states. We’ll examine which issues have mattered most and what people are talking about all day. As the day goes on, we’ll see what signals bubble up about frustrations and problems at the polls, and we’ll try to get a sense of how Americans are feeling—relieved, disgusted, ecstatic, distraught.
As the polls close, WIRED will have reporters on the scene at both campaigns’ Election Night parties, which are happening just a few blocks across Manhattan from one another. We’ll be watching the returns like the rest of you and tracking the internet’s reactions to the history-making news. Yes, every four years Americans like to say the latest election is the most important vote ever. And we’re not ashamed to say it about the 2016 election. But however decisive it turns out to be for the United States’ future, we already know one thing: the digital connections that define so many Americans’ lives mean the country’s politics will never be the same again.
Check back here at 12pm ET for hour-by-hour analysis.