Published On: Sun, Sep 4th, 2016

Voting for Social Media During Presidential Election

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Unless you have been living under a rock as of late, you probably are aware that there is a U.S. Presidential election set to be determined on Nov. 8. With that being the case, either Hillary Clinton (D) or Donald Trump (R) will likely emerge as the nation’s 45th President. If you watch any of the main news channels (CNN, FOX, MSNBC etc.), it is all but impossible to get away from talk of this election. Even more so than television, the Internet is abuzz with talk of this year’s election, along with elections going on at the Senate and Congress levels. For politicians, having an active social media presence is nothing short of a necessity in today’s digital age. So, if you’re really into all that is going on in politics this year especially, social media is the place to be. Getting Political over Social Networking While there are numerous social media sites that have political discussions going on (along with other everyday items being discussed), it is safe to say that both Clinton and Trump have zeroed-in on Twitter. To date on Twitter, Trump has approximately 11.2 million followers, while Clinton has around 8.55 million following her. If you spend any amount of time on the world’s third largest social media site (only Facebook and Instagram have more users), you will see that Twitter’s political discussions can in fact get quite heated at times, with both main party candidates not afraid to trade barbs against one another either. How many Americans come out to vote this November remains to be scene, but it is safe to say that social media (rightly or wrongly) will play a role in “informing” individuals about the choices they face at the ballot box. On the social site Periscope, candidates (running for all offices nationwide) can live stream their events, especially when they are spending time meeting with constituents. By turning to digital broadcasting, politicians can get their messages out, even when the major news networks care not to show such events. Meantime, the art of politics oftentimes requires that perfect photo opportunity. With that in mind, politicians are not shy about having accounts on sites such as Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest. All three provide the perfect venues to paint a picture of a politician getting out and meeting with the voters, listening to their concerns, and even bringing a little bit of joy and happiness into their lives, albeit for the few seconds it takes to pose for a picture. Before the Internet took the world by storm a few decades ago, most politicians relied on press releases and the like to get their messages out to newspapers, radio and TV stations, and of course ultimately the voting public. Will Social Media Deliver Votes? Change the channel forward to today’s digital world; those messages are primarily being delivered via social media. Whether a politician uses social sites like Twitter for marketing purposes or even YouTube to highlight campaign rallies nationwide, social media can prove a great marketing tool, especially directed towards those voters who shy away from watching television and/or reading newspapers on a regular basis. As great as all these social media opportunities are for well-known and even the lesser-known politicians, there is one important item all of them need to remember. Going negative on social media will only get political leaders so far; in fact, it could end up damaging their perception among the voters. In order to continually increase the traffic on one’s social media sites, keeping the message positive will certainly enhance their odds of bringing in more followers. Lastly, politicians should also use social media to gauge what the voters are thinking (especially what concerns them the most). Whether it is the economy, national security, healthcare, jobs, the list could go on and on. Being able to tap into what is on the minds of the voting public can help politicians have a better understanding of where voter’s minds are now, not to mention where they may be when Nov. 8 arrives. With social media not going anywhere anytime soon, both voters and politicians will have more socializing to do over the next few months.

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