SInce the advent of television campaign ads in 1952, video has been a significant tool in the democratic process. This year's presidential election was no exception -- the explosion of viral content on social media went hand in hand with politics, and parody videos were as unavoidable as the campaign ads themselves.
Online video aggregator Frequency curated every election-related video since early August 2012 -- about 100,000 -- to analyze what issues were important to voters based on the videos they were making or watching. Videos came from YouTube, political party sponsored and PAC-sponsored campaign ads, the candidates' official YouTube pages and news organizations.
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And, to no one's surprise, it wasn't controversial or hot-button topics like abortion and healthcare that got video cameras rolling. It was the gaffes and debate zingers that were the most-watched and shared content.
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President Barack Obama's comment about "horses and bayonets" from the third presidential debate spawned more videos than national security, women's rights and gun control, Frequency reports. 75% of videos on the subject of taxes involve Gov. Mitt Romney's tax returns -- not the candidates' actual tax policies.
And videos about Romney's now infamous Big Bird statement from the first presidential debate outranks videos on key ballot issues such as foreign policy and taxes.
As for two of the most popular clips from the whole election period: one favors Romney and is entitled "Mitt Clobbers Obama." The other is pro-Obama and alleges Romney cheated during the debate by using notecards.
Frequency also found an uptick of viral videos that "songified" debate clips, like this one from theNew York Times.
Certain more somber and informational videos did make some buzz during the election season. Frequency found that unemployment- or economic-themed videos were the most viral "serious" issues. But the total number of shares on these pale in comparison to the shares the big bird parodies stirred up.
"Videos and parodies are a great way to consume information, they are different than journalism ... We didn't see a lot of citizen journalism videos this election, but more of mashups and parodies which turn a very serious topic into something mainstream," Frequency's Senior Vice President of Products and Marketing Tom Kuhr tells Mashable. "These videos made the election more enjoyable to watch ... Video has basically made the election more fun and mainstream."
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What parody or video from this election season was your favorite? Share in the comments below.
This story originally published on Mashable here.