A Presidential Race or a Popularity contest

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Social media has without doubt been a huge game changer for the presidential election. In this blog post I will delve into how the candidates have utilised and embraced social media as part of their campaign, in addition I will examine the dark side of social media and how it has had a negative impact for Trump and Clinton.

Previously we have seen President Obama adapting to social media during his campaign with the ‘Ask me Anything’ on Reddit, which in turn became one of their most popular threads successfully connecting with the youth vote.

According to Statista, the statistics portal “In 2016, 78% of U.S. Americans had a social media profile”.  

The potential to connect and influence the youth demographic is crucial to a campaign and candidates are painfully trying to continuously stay active to reach their marketing focus. Trump and Clinton both have created Instagram pages, Twitter accounts and Facebook pages to further increase traffic and give updates to their voters. From my perspective it is a great way for people to see both sides and what both candidates are offering, I personally wouldn’t sit and watch the televised debate but I would read and re-tweet tweets that I agree with as I would like and share a post that I find informative.

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In a study conducted by Ipsos Mori, Over 34% of young adults between the ages of 18 to 24 have said that the coverage of the presidential campaign on social media would have a significant impact on their vote. There is no scepticism as to why the candidates have spent so much time and effort utilising their social media platform strategies, although I don’t think it’s a fair statement to call it free media as they still have employee’s and campaigners being paid to work on this aspect of the campaign.

They have the smallest TV ad spend in comparison to all the previous years. The Chief Creative Officer of Cronin and Company, Steve Wolfberg, divulged to Fox61 that the U.S. “has collectively spent more than 1,284 years reading about Donald Trump on social media” within a year. He also revealed that Trump obtained $380 million in free publicity through social media, and Clinton falling behind him with $100 million. Which in my opinion the term ‘free publicity’ is debatable.

Although there are many positive aspects and values to the use of the digital sphere in the campaign, there are just as many flaws and drawbacks. We have seen to the extent as to how nasty it can turn, between people fighting under social media posts, endless tweets and posts ridiculing and aggressively slating the candidates, to the candidates themselves trying to undercut and out shine one another. This has sparked huge debate not only among American voters but on a global scale.

It has increased talkability regarding the election but has encouraged mass debate among people, which may seem like the overall end objective for the candidates but for their reputations have certainly taking a hit with new leaked videos and emails emerging from both sides of the candidacy in which voters were able to have immediate access to all footage and information almost instantly as it became available.

It seems to me that it is more tit for tat, they are spending more time criticising each other than focusing on real issues. I think the campaigns should be more centralized towards important issues and why they should be elected. Personally I wouldn’t have voted for either of them, but after seeing this video below which was approved by Hilary Clinton I would have been influenced to vote for her. The lesser evil of the two. This shows just how powerful and influential these social media campaigns can be.

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