As technology rapidly changes, it changes our society and the way we communicate as well. As seen in my last posts, there are benefits and drawbacks of this new inclusion of technology.
What role did technology play in the last American election?
In the last U.S. election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, people saw tactics that had never been done before. The creation of openly, and dramatically criticizing the media, “fake news,” using attack Tweets more than ever were all facets both politicians and the American people were not used to.
Twitter played a massive role in the last election. Donald Trump often went to Twitter to criticize almost everything, and everyone. In a lot of ways, Trump’s Twitter account was entertaining for people– and often times entertainment wins. This is seen with the amount of followers each candidate has.
Hillary Clinton currently has 22.1M followers. Impressive, but not as high as Donald Trump’s 49.4M followers. More than double what Clinton has. While I am unaware of the follower count during the election, assuming they were relatively the same, that means that Trump’s tweets went to almost double the amount of people as Clinton’s, and that is without retweets.
Social media, and news platforms were often criticized for their fixation on Donald Trump. Below you can see the data from The Atlantic, where they track the data of media coverage for the candidates.
(I only included data from Clinton and Trump, however the full article has the data from all the 2016 candidates).
So was the entertaining tweets and media coverage enough to win the election?
While I admit I am slightly biased because I am not a Trump supporter; looking at the list above I don’t see how Trump necessarily did any of these things besides transmit passion.
Although many people were not openly Trump supporters, he had everything on his side. As Cooper explains, he had the money, the charismatic behavior, and the attention to be the favorable political candidate.
Hillary on the other hand was seen as cold, bossy, and bitchy for lack of a better word. Not only did she not have the favorable personality traits, she also lacked entertaining tweets and less political coverage.
Trump was made a spectacle of by the American news media and American citizens.
The New York Times made an article of of “The 425 People, Places and Things Donald Trump Has Insulted on Twitter: A Complete List.”
This is definitely an eye-opening article as it shows just how many negative critiques Donald Trump has said about practically anything he could talk about. But it also shows you the amount of attention Trump received during the election.
This article shows a lot of things, but one thing it indicates is that a New York Times journalist, which is a prestigious news outlet, had to go through Trump’s tweets, organize them, and file them to make this article. That couldn’t have taken long.
So it is undeniable that technology changed politics, there are many other factors of what makes a candidate successful. As Cooper pointed out, Trump had much more than just entertaining tweets to be seen as the favorable candidate.