It’s Election Day!

Election Day is finally here. Not only does this mean that we will be deciding who will be the next President of the United States, it also means that the Internet madness of this seemingly endless campaign will finally come to an end! Sort of at least. Hopefully.

Social media has been a major tool in this election. I use the word “tool” here intentionally, as it has been “a device or implement used to carry out a particular function.” Social media has been used methodically by both candidates during this campaign season. As social media has grown in popularity, it has become necessary for politicians to use the various platforms to engage voters, particularly millennials. Social media has been beneficial for politicians. It’s an easy and fast way for them to get their opinions and thoughts on something out to the world; it’s also a great place for them to promote the issues that they find particularly important.

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have used social media to discuss major political issues that will inform voters decisions. They’ve used the platforms to discuss their views on topics such as student loan debt, funding for Planned Parenthood, immigration, and much more.

They’ve also used the platforms to tear one another down. Trump has essentially used his Twitter account to tear down anyone who disagrees with him. Scrolling through his Twitter page is like flipping through hate mail “Disgraced New York Times,” “Crooked Hillary,” “dishonest media,” and more fill the page. If you haven’t read them already, you can scroll through his page or Google them at your leisure; there are too many horrible things he has Tweeted to repeat them all here. I am, however, including the photo and Tweet below because it’s disheartening and appalling to me that a candidate for President of the United States encouraged people to go search for a sex tape. I think this specific tweet epitomized how careless his use of social media has been. His Twitter account has gotten him in a lot of trouble during his campaign, sparking countless headlines. His use of social media was so prevalent (and negative) that his staff has reportedly banned him from using his Twitter account in the final days of the campaign.

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Social media has also been a place for all of us to turn to during this campaign, to both vent our frustrations and to campaign on behalf of the candidate we support. Many of you reading this who have a social media account likely know how a majority of your online friends are voting. When people feel strongly, they actively support the candidate of their choice, especially online. This election has been so dividing and has forced people to “pick a side” in a way that is unique to this election and not previous ones. This is not party politics as usual.

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One of the best hashtags to come out of campaign season.

Pew Research has shown that social media has been a decisive factor in voters rethinking their views on issues. The impact caused by the use of social media during this campaign season is loud and clear. It’s where a lot of people are going to to see the opinions of the candidates on issues that matter to them and it’s also where people are seeing the opinions of people they respect (their friends, celebrities, other politicians, etc.).

Today will likely be an incredibly active day on social media. We won’t just be watching the election pan out on TV, we will be taking our opinions to the web and looking for the opinions of others.

So, what about you, #IS6621? Have you been following the candidates on social media? Have you been actively supporting a campaign online? How has social media impacted your perception of the candidates and the election?

tumblr_o3h5td8rkk1tqj5fdo1_1280Don’t forget to get informed and go vote!

10 comments

  1. Love this post! Social media channels have really changed the way candidates have engaged with the voting public and to get their thoughts and messages out there to those who may not watch a lot of TV. It is a great way to reach young demographics and for voters to get information on the spot today! Social media is a great way to get opinions from the public as well, but I have also seen it can also cause major riffs between friends and some major arguments. It will be interesting to see how this election plays out and what happens on social media today.

  2. sandytanny · ·

    Great post on this historic day! I’m actually going back to Rhode Island today to vote since I forgot to fill out an absentee ballot but I’m excited to vote in my first election! I also wrote this week about social media’s role this election in regards to brands. The most effective seem to emphasize the frustration and divisiveness surrounding an election that you mentioned is certainly not party politics as usual. I’m sure both brands and people alike will turn to social media in record numbers today. Despite this whirlwind of an election, the passion and dialogue regarding the presidential election on social media has definitely encouraged me, and I’m sure many other millennials and first time voters, to get out there and exercise our right to vote on an election that is truly historic and needs our votes to decide the fate of the nation!

  3. I really enjoyed reading your post. It has been interesting to see how social media has been leveraged throughout the election- and to be quite honest, I cant wait for something to be on my newsfeed other than celebrities with “I voted”, tweets, and news alerts related to the latest election scandal, etc. While social media should be leveraged throughout the election, at some point, I think it loses its efficiency and impact on the voter. As we have mentioned before throughout class, because of the mass data available through social media platforms, often times we are only alerted to voting trends that are similar to what we believe. There seems to be a lack of impact when it comes to those who are voting for the other candidate or those who are undecided as we only see beliefs that are on the same side as our personal beliefs. There is room for improvement for the impact of social media on those voters who have yet decided which candidate to vote for… However, overall, it has been interesting to see how social media has impacted the election, I do not remember it being such a powerful force in the last election. However, it is safe to say that I will be SO happy when there is something on my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram newsfeed that does not have to do with voting and/or the election… probably will have to wait a few more days for that to happen though! Overall, great post!

  4. mikeknoll98 · ·

    Really interesting post. I am curious to see what the election tonight holds. I have been following Trump and Hilary on social media and it has been really tough. Its hard to weed through all of the fluff and dirt throwing. Despite this, I have enjoyed getting to know all of my piers political views and watching people argue about political issues on Facebook. While this sounds sarcastic, I like learning how others think and seeing peoples opinions. Great post.

  5. fernaneq4 · ·

    It was cool to see how Obama utilized social media when he first ran and it’s even more interesting to see how far it has come in this election. @copmania12‘s blog about the Hilary Campaign participated in the mannequin challenge shows just how much these campaigns are keeping in touch with the newest trends. Then again, some of the things as you mentioned that Trump tweeted really dug him into a hole (although that’s not showing at the current moment in the polls). The best thing Trump did was listen to his advisors and stop tweeting! What I think will be even more interesting is as time passes and in the upcoming elections how we’ll be able to find information on the candidates through the social media sites he or she grew up with. I can imagine someone my age running and old pictures from Myspace coming up or something he or she said in grade school that paints them in a poor light. Nice read!

  6. adawsisys · ·

    Very nice post. I like that you looked at social media in the election from the side of the candidates and from the side of voters. I have been fascinated by all of the social media activity by voters throughout the election. Scrolling through Facebook, It does not take very long to find an argument between Facebook friends. It has surprised me that people have been so vocal with their political opinions on social media. While debating and taking opposing sides is part of the democratic process, I also think important to think twice before posting. A professor at BC had an interesting opinion on the the election last week. He said that personal relationships will likely have a much more significant impact on the direction of a person’s life than a single president ever will. He encouraged us to think twice about participating in a political argument, especially online because personal relationships are more important that politics.

  7. copmania12 · ·

    Great post, Becca! I think you really hit home the fact that in order to appeal to millennials and their younger constituents, campaigns have really had to focus in on the power of social media. It is very interesting now in the couple days following the election to see the social media backlash responding to Trump’s victory over Hillary. We had no clue what was coming for us if we thought social media was divisive before the election. I have friends on facebook getting in huge public fights, de-friending one another, and posting too much hateful content. It all comes back, I think, to the readings we did at the beginning of the semester that described that platform of social media allows everyone and their mother to get involved in the action. Nice blog.

  8. Great post. We will certainly discuss some of these issues in class.

  9. adamsmea89 · ·

    Good post, I agree with all of it! I think this election has been different in many ways partly due to the fact that Trump has never been involved in politics before, and he was an active Twitter user prior to running for president. It seems like most politicians would try to stay away from posting offensive things on social media to avoid the backlash, but Trump clearly did not follow this strategy. As a result, I think Hillary and other candidates were more active on Twitter than they otherwise would have been had Trump not been in the race. I understand that people like to voice their opinions on social media, but most of what I have seen have not been conversations where people are hearing / learning / listening, but people stating their opinions and not listening to anyone else at all.

  10. ikechukwu_28 · ·

    Great post. Ties in well with an article I just read on WSJ (http://www.wsj.com/articles/central-roles-of-facebook-twitter-get-mixed-reviews-1478782066). Its interesting that social media is different than traditional media in that it is not regulated; the are no editors to monitor posts, which can lead to a lot of misinformation being on these platforms. Social media is an extremely powerful tool that definitely had a role in shaping how people voted this past week, for better or for worst.

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