Many people these days are turning to social media platforms to have their expressions heard and learn whatever they need to know about each of the candidates in the much heated U.S. presidential elections. The second presidential debate held just recently has rapidly raised concerns, and attention, in this regard, with the third and final faceoff scheduled for October 19th.
Far beyond the elections held in 2012 and even 2008, when social media first showed its potential in such important scenes, both the Democrat and Republican nominees have used these tools to enhance their outreach and have a much wider audience involved. As witnessed in the past and most certainly is anticipated in the near and distant future, such platforms are set to provide for the American people a political narrative in order to finalize their decisions with all the information they may seek.
The highly controversial 2nd debate
When the fumy second presidential debate came to an end on October 9th, it was made clear how social platforms are already playing such a crucial role in these polls. For the first time the moderators, Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz, chose to refer to specific subjects raised on various websites, such as Facebook, that at times enjoyed hundreds of millions of views and also mentions. This significantly indicates the subject’s validity and the potential of this all powerful tool in sending out a message. For instance, Raddatz raised the issue of a leaked 2005 recording of Trump’s voice making inappropriate remarks (to say the least) about women, and the fact that this has generated intense interest amongst millions of people debating the matter on various social media platforms. While Trump attempted to downplay the significance by describing it as “locker room” rhetoric, he was obviously forced to sidestep and dodge the question in its entirety about his position on character and the views he has about women. Raddatz moved on and again brought forward another question debated on an online forum belonging to the Bipartisan Open Debate Coalition. This is a platform where Americans are able to submit various questions that have in the past rendered votes in the millions.
Simply put, social media provides an insight into what the American public views as important, and what subjects each of the nominees should focus their talks on.
Anderson Cooper referred to Twitter when questioning Trump at the final stretches of the debate. He began his question by saying Trump wrote a series of tweets in the middle of the night, including a particular message inviting people to view a certain tape of improper content. Do you consider this to be the correct discipline of an individual seeking to lead the U.S., Anderson fired at Trump. The Republican nominee again attempted to sidestep the question by referring to a spiel on Benghazi before mentioning the fact that he enjoys 25 million followers on what is described as “our modern day form of communication.” What is important in this picture here is that Cooper’s reference to the Twitter activity of Trump further proves the potential role of social media and one’s activity on such platforms. Remember how friends and family always lecture us about being careful what we choose to post? This is exactly why.
Moreover, this election has witnessed how the art of fact-checking has literally become a real-time tool, and a ready weapon waiting to be loaded with harsh reminders of reality. It was literally impossible to count how many times the word “liar” was used in this debate, making it unprecedented in nature. However, social media provided a much more transparent view of both candidates and makes available a very useful fact-checking mechanism. Easily shareable now across numerous social media platforms are highly sought information pieces, including videos and tweets targeting fact-checking purposes.
Social image delivered through social media platforms
What cannot be ignored by Clinton or Trump is the fact that both need to go to great lengths to actually relate to the American public in general. Twitter, for instance, is a platform where nominees can voice their views in informal tones, along with curating their public imagery. People now have the opportunity to interact on a basis that can be considered somewhat meaningful under conditions they otherwise would not enjoy. Such interactions would have huge impacts of interpreting to a large number of people. When people retweet and like a candidate’s messages on Twitter, it shows how they actually are identifying with the criteria through a personal basis. The twitter page of Hillary Clinton is now full of retweets from different accounts about her victory, both sending out this message that her victory is eminent, and showing that she can connect with ordinary Americans and the politicians of Washington, a characteristic considered very important in presidential elections.
New source of news
More than ever before what you and your Facebook friends post and even think has its aftereffects that are represented in your Newsfeed, and which can very much shape your opinions in not so distant future. The media is known for its highly manipulative nature, and maybe best described as having a stronger than ever role of providing political news to the now very thirsty American public. This issue has become more controversial than ever. There is a real concern and a “clear and present danger” of social media platforms transforming into what is known as echo chambers, where users are only interested in posting only from friends sharing the same mentality, and also media sources. Social media users should forever be encouraged to maintain an open mind by seeking different posts that actually don’t appear on their pages.
The huge amount of data on this year’s presidential election is increasing as we speak. Like it or not, social media has taken a role so influential on voters in this election. Despite being considered as a non-reliable source, a large number of people refer to these outlets in their daily lives more than once a day. Rest assured a high percentage of voters casting their ballots on November 8th were largely influenced by the outpouring and flooding social media criteria.