The emergence of social media has changed the way in which political communication takes place in the United States. Political institutions such as politicians, political parties, foundations, institutions, and political think tanks are all using social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, to communicate with and engage voters. Regular individuals, politicians, "pundits" and thought leaders alike are able to voice their opinions, engage with a wide network, and connect with other likeminded individuals. According to Wael Ghonim, social media can reinforce pre-existing beliefs rather than promote new ones. Social media, while a great source of gathering volunteers and money, serves the main purpose of affirming political beliefs and strengthening a political base. Politicians have a platform to communicate with that is different from the mainstream media. Politicians have the ability to raise large amounts of money in relatively short periods of time through social media campaigns. In 2012, President Barack Obama raised over a billion dollars for his campaign, which broke the fundraising record. Around $690 million was raised through online donations including social media, email, and website donations, and more money was raised from small donors than ever before.