In the past decade or so, social media has changed the way people interact, connect and view eachother. Social media affects everything now… friendships, daily purchases and even politics. Years ago, people never would have guessed that social media would take such a toll on a political campaign but the 2016 elections in the United States proved otherwise. Facebook and Twitter seemed to have played the biggest role in decided who would become the President of the United States.
Whether social media was considered a positive or negative regarding political campaigns, people will argue both sides. Let’s take a look at the good and the bad of political social media.
When Obama was running for president, Facebook seemed to have helped him greatly. It was an easy way for people to share his ideas, beliefs and where he stood. Facebook brings positives for many reasons. In class we learned about the 10 political uses for Facebook. Those include:
1. Facebook gives transparency.
2. Facebook has a huge viral capacity, making it easy to share.
3. Facebook allows “micro point of view” meaning that anything you share can have many followers or likes.
4. Facebook communicates.
5. Facebook creates politics out of politics.
6. Facebook connects people.
7. Facebook works for citizens.
8. Facebook is global.
9. Facebook promotes creativity.
10. Facebook humanizes.
All of the above are great reasons Facebook can help a political campaign. In 2012, Obama’s celebration of winning the election again was the most liked photo on Facebook racking up over 3 million likes.
Although Facebook can greatly help a campaign, there are also many negatives. The presidential race of 2016 proved this regarding news with President Trump.
“Fake News” became one of the most used phrases by Trump because of all of the false information that was floating around about him. A lot of this had to do with Facebook. Because it is so easy to share posts on Facebook, it makes “fake news” spread like wildfire. Quotes were shared about him saying things such as that he was giving away free plane tickets to people who want to leave the US and that many years ago he said that if he were to run for president he would run republican because “they are the biggest group of idiots in the world.” All of these things were false and really took a toll on his campaign.
Twitter was the most talked about social media platforms in the presidential race of 2016. Yes, Twitter can be used easily for sharing small quotes and stories but this year it was looked at very negatively. Donald Trump took a lot of his campaign to tweeting and while it may be comical in a way, it was viewed as immature and impulsive. Some of his tweets included: