There is no doubt this is one of the most controversial and talked about elections in America's history. Thanks to social media, the candidates, voters, and media outlets have been able to take the antics to a whole different level. Almost instantly the statements of a candidate can be shared, fact checked, and rebutted by their opponent. It's a great way to involve voters in the issues and engage a younger audience, but this social media influence makes the election different than any before. After today, I don't think the controversy will die down. How does social media make this Election Day 2016 different than those before?
You're still going to hear from the loser
Hillary or Donald, you're not getting rid of them quite yet. Candidates can still have their voice heard simply by sharing a tweet or a Facebook post and it's going to be picked up by mainstream media. Social media is giving them the ability to continue to stir the pot by directly interacting with their supporters. Not to mention, social media is free and its viral. Candidates don't pay to spread their points of view on the issues. Thanks to the masses they've both benefited from the free market of social media and it will continue long after election day.
Voters will check social media first
Millennials are using social media as a main pathway to get their news and become educated on the issues. I don't know if I should be scared or glad. On one hand, you shouldn't believe everything on the internet. On the other hand, isn't it great that we've been provided a forum to discuss issues at hand and be able to filter out mainstream media bias? Roughly one-in-five social media users have changed their minds about a political issue or about a candidate for office because of something they saw on social media, according to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center. I can only hope that social media users are looking at a few different sources before forming an opinion.
It's going to be a cold election day
It's not just because winter is coming. I say this because social media also opens up the floodgates for those internet trolls to go out in full force. You know those people who express their opinions or tell you how wrong yours is because they feel like they have a platform to do it. According to Pew 59% of adults say their social media interactions with those with opposing political views are stressful and frustrating.Whatever the outcome is, I imagine it will only get more heated because one party is going to lose and they aren't going to be happy about it.
Fact is Fact
A great thing about social media and this election is that the candidates can be fact checked immediately. There is no gap waiting for main stream media to check the validity of a statement as in previous years. In real time, we can tear apart a point of view in a matter of seconds. Candidate or not, people can be fact checked, so in a way we are all a little more accountable to our tweets, posts, or Instagrams.
The Presidential Post
More than likely you'll be hearing from the winner on social media first. It's kind of crazy to think that our new President elect could give their statement of acceptance on Facebook or Twitter first. It's a real possibility. Considering the real time interaction of social media, it will be the quickest way to get their message to their supporters.
Social Media Silence
According to Pew more than 1/3 of social media users are tired of talking about the election, (self included!) I imagine that once we get the results, many Millennials will be taking a break from the heated conversations and hot button issues that have flooded our social media feeds for the past year.
It's Time For a Friend Cleanse
Since social media provides people a platform to express their opinions that they might not ordinarily express, people are cleaning up their feeds. Posting offensive political content is the reason 39% of social media users block people or clean up their feed according to Pew. The election will allow people to see who they really disagree with and clean out their social media friends.
There is no doubt social media has changed this election and will shape those to come. What we have to look forward to is being able to continue the discussion on social media for the next four years. I hope everyone takes the opportunity to get out and vote!