If Venezuelans had to choose a favorite social network, they would most likely pick Twitter. And indeed, this medium has been the most used to discuss the presidential election of Sunday, October 7, 2012.
Under different hashtags occupying the Trending Topic list in the country, Venezuelans comment, discuss, debate, report and share.
But beware, Venezuelans are skilled Twitter users. If you want to follow the election, a hashtag could lead you to unexpected tweets. Discussions in 140 characters require ingenuity, and Venezuelans know how to play with the limited space.
Venezuelans in queue in Caracas to vote during October 7, 2012, presidential election. Photo by Alejandro Rustom. Copyright Demotix.
Under #HoyGanaChávez (Chávez wins today) many supporters of President Hugo Chávez announce their vote, invite others to participate and gear up for results that, they say, will be favorable:
Jorge Amorin (@Jorgeamorin) [es] invites his followers to participate:
@Jorgeamorin: Cual es nuestra tarea ahora? Si aún quedan compas sin votar, pues a votar. Y ayudar a nuestros testigos en todos los centros #HoyGanaChávez
@Jorgeamorin [es]: What is our task now? If you still haven't voted, go vote. And help all our witnesses in all voting centers #HoyGanaChávez
Carlos Ernesto (@Ernesto_Vzla27) [es] highlights the work of the National Electoral Center:
@Ernesto_Vzla27: Ver a quienes ayer criticaban ferozmente al Poder Electoral votando, ya es una victoria revolucionaria. #HoyGanaChávez
@Ernesto_Vzla27 [es]: Seeing those who fiercely criticized the Electoral Power voting, is already a revolutionary victory. #HoyGanaChávez
Fabrizia Polverini (@Mimipolverini) [es] shares:
@Mimipolverini: No me queda duda de que mi primer voto fue por mi Patria, por los niños, por todos los logros de la revolucion #hoyganachávez
@Mimipolverini [es]: I have no doubt that my first vote was for my Country, for the children, for all the revolution's achievements #hoyganachávez
Edu Carvajal Avila (@Edu_Carvajal) [es] points out:
@Edu_Carvajal: #HoyGanaChávez … ¡NO!, y gana#VENEZUELA, hoy ganamos todos! esta noche no habrá pueblo derrotado, el único derrotado es Capriles
@Edu_Carvajal [es]: #HoyGanaChávez … NO!, #VENEZUELA wins, today we all win! tonight there won't be a defeated people, the only defeated one will be Capriles.
However, this hashtag has also been used by supporters of the opposition, like Erika (@ErikaDLV) [es]:
@ErikaDLV: #HoyGanaChávez un pasaje a CUBA sin retorno! Porque aqui ya no lo queremos,14 años son suficientes! Queremos un pais unido! #HoyMeDesquito
@ErikaDLV: #HoyGanaChávez [Today Chávez wins] a no-return ticket to CUBA! Because we don't want him here anymore, 14 years is enough! We want a united country! #HoyMeDesquito
Other hashtags in favor of Chávez are #ElMundoConChávez (The world with Chávez) and #TodosNosotrosConChávez (We are all with Chávez).
On the side of the opposition, the most popular hashtag refers to Henrique Capriles’ slogan “There is a path” (Hay un camino” in Spanish) and to the long lines at voting centers: #NoEsUnaColaEsUnCamino (It is not a queue, it's a path).
Arturo G. Villarroya (@ArturoGVilla) [es] says:
@ArturoGVilla: Ánimo a todos los venezolanos que tienen aun que esperar para votar, que no se vayan a casa, merece la pena esperar. #NoEsUnaColaEsUnCamino
@ArturoGVilla: I send my encouragement to all those Venezuelans who still have to wait to vote. Don't go home, it is worth the wait. #NoEsUnaColaEsUnCamino
Another hashtag used by those who will vote for the opposition is #HugoChávezFríasTeQuedan2Días (Hugo Chávez Frías you have two days left). Under this hashtag many comment on the urban violence that drives them to want a change in the national administration.
User @Sr Sugestivo [es] writes:
@Sr Sugestivo: ¡Porque quiero caminar por Caracas en la noche y vivir al día siguiente! #VotemosDePrimeroXCapriles#HugoChávezFríasTeQuedan2Días
@Sr Sugestivo [es]: Because I want to walk through Caracas at night and live the next day! #VotemosDePrimeroXCapriles (Let's vote for Capriles) #HugoChávezFríasTeQuedan2Días
Meanwhile, news site @PlanetaUrbe [es] tweets a video shared by Gabriel Torelles [es] and quotes:
@PlanetaUrbe: #HugoChávezFríasTeQuedan2Días [VIDEO] “En Caracas hay más muertos que en Bagdad” @anarkyoow.ly/edrdF
@PlanetaUrbe: #HugoChávezFríasTeQuedan2Días [VIDEO] “In Caracas there are more dead that in in Baghdad” @anarkyo ow.ly/edrdF
The pace is fast and information is varied. Trending Topics change in minutes and they not only include comments predicting the results, but also reflections from both sides, attacks, recommendations for voting, reports about abuses and irregularities, and also rumors, something that many see as a typical custom of these days. One discussion easily leads to another, as most tweets are generally published with more than one hashtag.
The next Trending Topics will appear in the hours to come and they will surely include comments about the election results, expected by most to be released late into the night.