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The social media has become the biggest tool of communication and campaigns during elections. In fact, it has shaped how voters view their favorite candidates and how they make a decision on which candidate to give their vote. In the 2016 US presidential elections, at least all the candidates utilized the social media in the announcement of their candidacy or even in their campaigns as they tried to woo voters to vote for them. The social media played a significant role in the 2016 presidential elections. The use of the social media has been and will continue being a game changer in the outcome of a candidate winning an election.
Today, many candidates seeking elective positions have embraced the use of social media to woo voters to vote for them. President Barrack Obama was the first president who used the social media to reach out on voters and it proved successful in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. In fact, Obama revolutionized how political campaigns were to be carried in the digital era after he effectively used the social media to interact and woo his voters to vote for him thus defeating political veterans (Bruns and Highfield 426). Due to the growing technology and social media sites, many young adults have shifted their attention more on social networks. Hence, since they are the majority of the targeted voters, most candidates have decided to shift their campaigns on social media to stand out to the millennial who are their targeted demographic and win over their competitors.
In the 2016 elections, the social media undoubtedly played a major role in the campaigns and outcome of the presidential elections. All the 2016 presidential candidates used the social media in one way or the other to engage their donors and supporters. For instance, Donald Trump used Twitter, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush announced their presidential bids via Snapchat, and they employed the use of photoshop battle on Twitter as their campaign strategies, and Ted Cruz used employed the use of live-stream campaign on Periscope (Enli 50). In addition, Hillary Clinton also released a campaign playlist on Spotify and Bernie Sanders generated social buzz by creating shareable content, which was shared on social media. Curry notes “social media can affect political engagement” in significant ways (The Washington Post). Through the social media, the presidential candidates reached a wide population of potential voters and were able to influence their decision on which candidate to give their vote to. Therefore, social media played an integral role in the 2016 presidential elections because all the 2016 presidential candidates used different social media sites/networks either to announce their presidential bid or to engage their voters.
The social media played a significant role in the 2016 presidential elections because it helped the voters to make a decision on the candidate they were going to give their vote. The presidential candidates posted everything about their campaigns on social media and this made many Americans turn to the social media to review posts and live streams from their favorite candidates. During the 2016 election period, the social media was spinning at “a million miles per hour” capturing every moment of the candidates while the supporters followed keenly. In fact, both Clinton and Trump used the social media to grow their supporters. In fact, wards note that Facebook documented that in the 2016 US presidential elections “it’s network had over 115 million people posting about the election and generated 716 million likes, posts, comments and shares related to the vote” (Authoritylabs.com). During this time, even those not on social media sites were pushed to join just to witness the revolution that was going on and this significantly affected their voting decisions on the 2016 presidential candidates.
In the 2016 US presidential elections, the social media played a big role in wooing and gathering young voters. Curry, in a Washington post notes that “Younger voters, in particular, increasingly get their news from social media” (Washington post). Young voters are always found on social platforms and Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took an advantage of using the social media throughout their campaigns not only to reach out on the young voters but also voters of all ages. Ward writes, “On Facebook, Clinton linked a majority of her posts to official campaign communications and where to vote. Trump, on the other hand, chose to link to different news media in his posts” (Authoritylabs.com). In addition, they used Facebook for live broadcasts, Snap chat filters for their campaigns, and this reached a large group of people because these candidates had discovered that the quickest way to reach a large group of people or to make news during the election period was to post or broadcast news on social media. Therefore, with the social media, the presidential candidates were able to reach a large mass of voters and persuade them to vote for them and their ideologies.
The social media played a significant role in the 2016 presidential elections because, at some point, it was able to alter public opinion on some presidential candidates. Allcott and Gentzkow note that “the presence of social media bots can indeed negatively affect democratic political discussion rather than improving it, which in turn can potentially alter public opinion and endanger the integrity of the Presidential election” (212). In the 2016 US presidential elections, the social media tool was exploited to manipulate some online discussions and even spread some fake news, which changed the public perception on candidates, and it might have affected the outcome of the elections. For instance, there were several false stories shared on social media sites during the 2016 elections and “those favoring Trump were shared a total of 30 million times on Facebook, while those favoring Clinton were shared 8 million times” (Allcott and Gentzkow 218). As a result, Clinton was negatively affected by the spread of false news because they reached a large group of voters and this played a significant role in the outcome of the 2016 presidential elections. Therefore, apart from playing a positive role where the candidates reached out on many voters, the social media altered the public opinion of some voters on some of the presidential candidates thus affecting the outcome of the 2016 presidential elections. People will always believe what their favorite candidates tell them about their opponents.
It is with no doubt that, the influence of the social media has and will continue being a great determinant in campaigns and the chance of a candidate winning an elective post. Most candidates have continued to leverage the social media to gain a competitive advantage over their competitors (Kreiss 1427). In the 2016 presidential race, all candidates used the social media in one way or the other to engage voters and ask them for their votes, the likes of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. As society continues to immerse deeper into the digital world, social media is not just a tool of communication and socialization. In the New York Times, Ben Thompson who is the founder of a technology industry analysis site called Stratechery noted, “For all of its flaws and the badness of the product itself, this election has proven Twitter is vital,” (New York Times). With this, it is evident that indeed, the social media played an integral part in the 2016 presidential elections. The social media has become a significant tool in campaigns where candidates express their political beliefs and put open their ideologies to their voters and to the world. The social media has changed the campaign game with how it played an important role in the 2016 United States presidential elections.
If there was any uncertainty about the influence the social media can have on elections, the 2016 US presidential elections have proved the importance of the medium. Initially, the social media was just a fad but now, it is a legitimate and relevant platform where we can reach a large group of people even during campaigns and make a change in the outcome of presidential elections. As cited in Hutchinson, the Pew Research reveals that about “62% of Americans now get news updates from social media sources - yet even with that knowledge, no one seemed to take those figures seriously until Donald Trump became the President-elect” (Socialmediatoday.com). Since the 2016 US Presidential elections, it is now evident that the social media can play an important part in an election because it plays a vital role in how people access, consume and use information passed to them via networking sites.
In conclusion, all through history, the advancement in technology has played an integral role in presidential campaigns and elections. It has shaped how voters view their preferred candidates and how the candidates present their ideas to their voters. The 2016 US presidential candidates used the social media in one way or the other to present their candidacy and woo their voters to finally vote for them. Indubitably, millennial spend most of their time on social media sites and this is where they get their news. Therefore, presidential candidates utilized the social media by taking their campaigns on social media sites to reach potential and a valuable group of voters and this significantly influenced the outcome of the 2016 presidential candidates. The social media played a significant role in the 2016 presidential elections and it will continue being the king of campaigns for several years to come.
Allcott Hunt, and Gentzkow Matthew. "Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election." Journal of Economic Perspectives31.2 (2017): 211-36.
Bruns, Axel, and Highfield Tim. "May the Best Tweeter Win: the Twitter Strategies of Key Campaign Accounts in the 2012 US Election." Die US-Präsidentschaftswahl 2012. Springer VS, Wiesbaden, 2016. 425-442.
Curry Kevin. More and More People get their News Via Social Media. Is it Good or Bad? The Washington Post, 30 Sept. 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey cage/wp/2016/09/30/more-and-more-people-get-their-news-via-social-media-is-that good-or-bad/?utm_term=.735ef165112d Accessed 21 November 2018.
Enli, Gunn. "Twitter as Arena for the Authentic Outsider: Exploring the Social Media Campaigns of Trump and Clinton in the 2016 US Presidential Election." European Journal of Communication 32.1 (2017): 50-61.
Hutchinson Andrew. How the 2016 US Presidential Election Will Change Social Media. SocialMediaToday, 8 Dec. 2016.https://www.socialmediatoday.com/social networks/how-2016-us-presidential-election-will-change-social-media, Accessed 21 November 2018.
Isaac Mike and Ember Sydney. For Election Day Influence Twitter Ruled Social Media. New York Times, 8 Nov. 2016. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/09/technology/for-election day-chatter-twitter-ruled-social-media.html. Accessed 21 November 2018.
Kreiss, Daniel. "Seizing the Moment: The Presidential Campaigns’ Use of Twitter during the 2012 Electoral Cycle." New Media & Society 18.8 (2016): 1473-1490.
Ward Ashley. Election 2016: The Role Social Media Played in the Elections. Authoritylabs, 10 Nov. 2016. https://authoritylabs.com/blog/election-2016-the-role-social-media-played-in the-elections/, Accessed 21 November 2018.
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