Whether or not you’ve been actively paying attention, I’m sure you’ve heard.
Primary results have been pouring in the past few weeks, and tensions have been building as the scope narrows to a select few fighting it out for a seat in the White House.
But how have you heard about Bernie vs. Hillary Tuesday night victories or the latest feud between Trump and Cruz (and Mrs. Cruz?) is changing from years before. With journalism transforming and news habits changing into something more than just a 6 o’clock sit-down, information is accessible at the snap of your fingers, anywhere at anytime. Journalism is being disrupted not only by candidates, but also by social media.
Trump isn’t running the election, but neither is Bernie.
The 2016 Race to the White House is being controlled by Twitter.
Unlike any election before, this political brawl has been managed mostly via social media.
George W. Bush was big on the phone-push. Obama’s posters covered cities across the
nation, but today we see a major takeover on sites like
Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook (sometimes even Vine).
Now I would dare to say that the rise of Twitter is a more recent affair, but as of 2012, Obama had over 16 million followers and had sent nearly 5,000 tweets. Let’s get a look at today’s presidential hopefuls:
Updated numbers show similar following, with Donald Trump far ahead and John Kasich eerily behind, but nonetheless Americans are taking notice of Twitter activity for announcements and victories. But how far is their reach, despite the numbers displayed at the top of their feed?
The Pew Research simply goes to show that a large sum of the American public are likely to be receiving their news from Twitter, among other mediums.
But how is Twitter transforming?
Without a doubt this campaign, twitter has been the social media bread winner when it came to sharing news, original content, or outright snide comments. While Instagram has jumped to be increasingly popular over Facebook, and Twitter has remained an unapologetically free platform, candidates have taken a turn for…maybe their true selves?
Major clapback? I’d say so!
Personally speaking, I’d say it’s more than just an uprising in Twitter usage that’s making these kinds of remarks…acceptable, but maybe that’s just me.
In more recent months, we’ve seen more follower interaction, which I believe is driving the public away from the “imminent death of Twitter” that some might say is quickly approaching. Twitter, while not always guaranteeing a reply, does show a public record of your thoughts, feelings, opinions, and questions. This election, candidates have taken a turn to apparently really care about the American people, thus interacting with them on a semi-shallow platform.
With thousands upon thousands of tweets pouring into these candidates’ notifications every second, it can be hard to keep track of replying, I’m sure. But outspoken GOP candidate, Donald Trump, has taken to Twitter full force, without any political correctness as he so delightfully declares:
.@ariannahuff is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man- he made a good decision.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2012
.@bwilliams knows that I think his newscast has become totally boring so he took a shot at me last night.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2012
I refuse to call Megyn Kelly a bimbo, because that would not be politically correct. Instead I will only call her a lightweight reporter!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2016
And finally- why is Twitter the future?
“As the 2012 elections show, social media is no longer the “exciting new frontier” for political campaigning. Social media is a normal and central form of communications with distinctly different properties than traditional mass media approaches. Obama has set the bar for future campaigns but social media and network structures should be given serious attention in the media strategy, whether it’s for politicians, organizations, brands or public service initiatives.”
Well… Dr. Pamela Rutledge sure has a point. Social media isn’t new. It’s not bright, shiny, or all that exciting until someone says something mildly offensive or racy.
But I must ask, how can social media not be new on a daily basis with over 320 million active monthly users world-wide, and roughly 65 million active monthly users in the US? News is changing, whether you hear it from your television as you sit and watch or see it on your phone as you bus to North Campus. The time is now to vamp up what we are already in the midst of- a social media revolution. Harness one of the world’s greatest marketing and outreaching tools is genius, especially during a campaign where we see those with the most followers have the most real life following in the polls.
And finally, we see the reach of social media globally, as candidates from other countries harness the media prowess inside. Country leaders in Brazil and Canada have found themselves using social media, similarly to how US presidential candidate use them- to communicate, criticize, and self-promote.
“This presidential cycle is making clear the value Twitter has as a method of connecting candidates and voters,” says Gillian Branstetter of the Daily Dot. “It’s personal nature creates a perpetual town hall, in which a candidate can shine or crash at any moment. Regardless of whether Twitter can translate that into dollars, the rest of us will reap the rewards—and pay the price.”
Regardless of the rewards of consequences of receiving your news via social media, Twitter is the shorthand, tech talk of the 2016 election- have you joined in?