Election goes cyber

Pauline Villegas, A&E Editor

In 2016, social media takes part in almost everything we do. From choosing what to eat to selecting  the next president, social media is almost always affecting people’s lives. One of the main factors in this year’s “too-close-to-call” race is the candidates’ use of social media to campaign.

On Twitter, Donald Trump has produced over 33,000 tweets. Each presidential candidate utilizes social media to spread their ideas, whether in a negative or positive way. Politicians, both popular and lesser-known, are using social media as a free form of campaigning that won’t cost them a dime. One tweet will reach more people than any late-night commercial or cardboard poster could.

The use of social media in the current presidential election will reshape the way politicians reach their supporters in years to come. In the future, candidates may campaign solely on social media, instead of at rallies. Showing their faces won’t be necessary when they can just share all of their opinions with the push of a button.

Nowadays, most people get their news from social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat. Each app has made news more accessible than ever. For example, Twitter has added a “Moment’s” section, where users can easily get all of the trending topics and popular tweets of the day.  

The social media platform allows news to travel fast, but also to die down quickly. For instance, if one of the presidential candidates tweets something controversial, it will be forgotten within days as more news surfaces. In this fast-paced world of politics, these tweets come and go almost instantaneously.

In this new era of politics, the candidates resemble teenagers at times in the ways that they tweet each other back and forth, calling each other names and bashing the other’s beliefs. Instead of further explaining their policies, the candidates are using social media to call each other mean names followed by a frowning emoji.

For example, Donald Trump tweeted negatively about Obama endorsing Hillary Clinton for president, calling Hillary “crooked.” Clinton responded “delete your account,” which got a whopping 486,000 retweets and counting.

With the race being  too close to call and Clinton leading in the polls by less than 5 percent, one single tweet could tip the scale the other way.

Tweets can also be wildly out of line yet still be praised. On Cinco de Mayo, Donald Trump proudly tweeted a picture of him and a taco bowl, claiming that the best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill and exclaiming that he “loves Mexicans!”

This tweet has over 82,000 retweets simply because people found it funny. However, what most people don’t realize is by retweeting one simple tweet, they are spreading his ideals and his campaign.

While Clinton is, ironically, taking a more conservative approach on social media, Trump’s campaign is based completely off of the idea that “all press is good press.” The more ridiculous the tweet, the more retweets it gets. With each retweet, tens of thousands of people will see whatever he has to say.

Twitter also works as a permanent hold for everything a candidate has ever said. When you tweet something for the world to see, it never truly goes away. In the recent presidential debates, Clinton called Trump out for saying that global warming was a hoax created by the Chinese. Trump immediately denied the accusation and Clinton fans were quick to provide the screenshots. Sure enough, people found that on Nov. 6, 2012, Trump tweeted, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

While both candidates use social media more than any presidential candidate in the past, they are each taking their own spin on it. These days, social media has become a boxing match between the candidates—the  winner might have to punch, or tweet, their way to the top.