Donald Trump. A name recognized internationally, and as of recent, the 45th president of The United States. A businessman with no previous political experience, it is almost baffling that he was able to win such an esteemed position. Some may wonder how it was possible, and I can confidently say it is largely a result of social media.
Politics 2.0 emphasizes the importance of social media for candidates, in order to reach their audience and send a message. We see it originally used in the Obama campaign, where he focused mainly on the use of Facebook and Twitter to reach voters. Facebook is a legitimate platform used for communication. Advantages include its’ global reach, its’ transparency, the connections it creates, and the citizen participation it offers.
Donald Trump used a similar technique for his campaign, focusing heavily on Twitter updates as well as Facebook to his advantage. However, Donald Trump’s messages were much different than that of former President Barack Obama. Obama can be quoted using messages that further supported his brand image-Hope. Mr. Trump received the same attention but mostly as a result of his bold statements, often delivered via Twitter and Facebook. The attention he was given because of this, along with the ridiculous Facebook articles on him, further put him in people’s minds-exactly what he wanted, and ultimately what lead to his success. 28 million followers, can in fact, do a lot.
The advertising and awareness he had simply through social media is extraordinary. An article by the verge, “Donald trump says Facebook and Twitter ‘helped me win'”, further expands on this. Mr. Trump was quoted during his talk on CBS’ 60 minutes, saying, the services he uses such as Facebook and Twitter “are great forms of communication…I’m not saying I love it, but it does get the word out.” And that’s evident, he continued, “The fact that I have so much power in terms of numbers with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. I think it helped me win the races where they’re spending so much more money than I spent.” He didn’t spend nearly as much on advertising, both digitally and traditionally, as his opponent, Hilary Clinton, stating “I think that social media has more power than the money they spent.”
Although not all that was heard about Mr. Trump was positive, he even used the negative to his benefit, as a way to “fight back” from an inaccurate, or bad story. Hence, the articles posted on Facebook, or more commonly known the “fake news.” This had such a profound effect that Facebook, specifically the founder, Mark Zuckerberg is taking steps to make sure all the news reported on his site is in fact, accurate. What a concept! We shall see how that goes.
Uncertainty still evidently remains on that issue, however, what is clear is the immense role that Twitter and Facebook did play in fact play in this campaign. It is interesting to wonder if the results would have been the same if social media was not used. Food for thought!