Social media in the 2016 United States presidential election

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In 2016, social media had the biggest effect ever on the United States presidential election. For the first time, social media created the change (of plans for Democratic and Republican primaries) rather than talking about it. Many journalists expected this.

Benefits to candidates[change | change source]

Many presidential candidates benefited from the use of social media in the 2016 election.

Bernie Sanders[change | change source]

Many people think social media is the reason Bernie Sanders did so well in the Democratic primaries. In May 2016, 450,000 people belonged to the pro-Sanders Facebook group Bernie Sanders' Dank Meme Stash. Another pro-Sanders group, Bernie or Hillary?, exists.[1]

Donald Trump[change | change source]

Social media is also thought by most people to be the reason Donald Trump did so well in the Republican primaries. Activity by Donald Trump supporters on social media was one of the things talked about at the first Republican debate.[2] Trump mentioned that his social media accounts provided a tremendous platform for his election and helps keep people interested.

Right Side Broadcasting Network often uploads live footage of Donald Trump rallys on YouTube, causing their popularity to go way up.[3]

Hillary Clinton[change | change source]

In April 2016, Correct the Record, a pro-Clinton super PAC, started a program called "Barrier Breakers" that wants to compete with the mostly online volunteer efforts of Sanders and Trump supporters. With $1 million in funding, Correct the Record hired a paid staff of people that used to be reporters, bloggers, public affairs specialists, designers to post good things about Clinton.[4]

On June 9, 2016, as a response to Donald Trump's tweet about Obama's endorsement to Clinton, she wrote with a three word tweet: "Delete your account". This tweet has become her most retweeted tweet of all time.[5][6]

By the end of June 2016, this most retweeted tweet of all time got more than 1,000,000 interactions. [7]

Memes[change | change source]

One form of social media being used in the 2016 election are memes. The Guardian compared Internet memes to political cartoons, saying, "For the first time in a US election cycle, community-generated (created) memes have grown to play a significant (important) role in political discourse (debate), similar to the classic printed cartoon. While an Internet meme is unlikely to destroy a political career, lots of memes targeting a candidate might." Many memes attacked Ted Cruz.[1]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Alexander, Leigh (May 4, 2016). "Blame it on the Zodiac killer: did social media ruin Ted Cruz's campaign?". The Guardian. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  2. Fehrnstrom, Eric (February 10, 2016). "A punch-drunk Jeb Bush carries on". Boston Globe. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  3. Rocket, PR (23 May 2016). "PTZOptics critiques the Trump Campaign's YouTube Live Streams produced by Right Side Broadcasting - Press Release Rocket". Press Release Rocket. Archived from the original on 1 July 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  4. Hampson, Rick (May 12, 2016). "Hillary Clinton, no fan of 'Bernie Bros,' could use their energy vs. Trump". USA Today. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  5. Lang, Cady (9 June 2016). "Hillary Clinton Tweets 'Delete Your Account' to Donald Trump". Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  6. Victor, Daniel (9 June 2016). "Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump: 'Delete Your Account'". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  7. Kmieckowiak, Tilo. "Clinton picking up pace on social media – but enough to beat Trump?". quintly Social Media Analytics. Archived from the original on 8 August 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2016.