Tweeting in 2015 – How Social Media Changes the Presidential Race
Every so often throughout the course of United States politics, a new phenomenon comes along that changes the game forever. During the 1920’s it was radio – the opportunity for voters to actually hear the voices of candidates and commentators in their own living rooms without having to travel to rallies or debates. In the 1960’s it was television, where JFK, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton dominated with their charm and good looks. In the year 2015 with a Presidential election just on the horizon, the groundbreaking medium of communication is not surprisingly, social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even Snapchat – these sites and apps engage with millions of people every day and get far more traffic than a traditional campaign webpage, so it’s no secret why every candidate is trying to create a lasting, positive presence on social media. Hillary and Jeb’s Twitter battle over education, Rand Paul and Lindsay Graham’s interesting YouTube videos, Bernie Sander’s millions of Facebook likes, and of course Donald Trump’s dubbed “top Internet troll” status are all examples of social media interactions by candidates that have made waves. Social networking sites are not just for the younger generation anymore either. With the widespread popularity of the smartphone came greater access to Internet on the go and the emergence of apps that allow SNS (social networking sites) to be opened with just the touch of a finger. This means that social media’s impact is felt across a wide range of people coming from all different age groups, locations, and political affiliations.
With the ability to reach millions of voters instantly however, comes great responsibility. There can be a very fine line between a post that resonates with thousands and one that turns viewers off from the candidate’s message. Candidates (or rather, their social media teams) must learn how, when, and what site to post to all while communicating their platform clearly. If executed correctly, SNS could be the driving force behind a jump in the polls, on the other hand if a major social media blunder occurs it could ruin a campaign. With this being said, 2016 should prove to be a very interesting election season. Throughout debates, forums, rallies, and appearances, be sure to not only tune in on TV but also check your favorite candidate’s social media sites, and if you are not already, follow the Presidential race so that you don’t miss out on any of the fun.