Hashtag election

By Bronte Chandler

After 2008 saw Obama use the media to secure his presidency campaign, the upcoming 2016 US election has saturated social media in order to promote the front runners who aim to be the next President of the United States. 

Social media and the election. Credit: rgcommunications.

In 2008 Obama’s presidential campaign made history by using the media to promote him to a wider audience and gain the following that elected him the first African-American President of the United States.

He was the first to effectively use social media as a major campaign strategy, something that was new and innovative to the world, unlike today.

It may not sound that innovative now, but when Obama won his candidacy in 2007 the iPhone didn’t even exist.

The 2016 US election is fast approaching, and social media sites are cluttered with promotional propaganda for the November election.

In the ‘olden days’ – aka before social media – presidential campaigns consisted of appearances by the candidate, posters and advertisements and articles of prepared speeches or statements as well as television appearances.

Obama was the first president who understood social media is about relationships and that “an effective social media campaign is based on the psychology of social behaviours not the current technology”.

Although mainstream today, sending out voting reminders on Twitter and interacting with people on Facebook in 2008 was a big deal.

Placing election advertisements on social media is a way of reaching more people with 69% of American adults on social networks, significantly more than the 37% who were in 2008.

Front runners’ social media

It is thought the media is to blame for the rise and success of the Republican Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Trump has been described as an instant ratings/circulation/clicks gold mine, with videos and articles constantly being posted on forums, social media networks, online news sites and many other media platforms.

Hillary Clinton, a Democratic candidate, has taken to email to ask for help in her campaign from her supporters and to make sure her message was coming through loud and clear on Facebook and Twitter.

The supporters were asked to join a group that will get regular updates from Clinton’s campaign headquarters about what to post on social media.

The use of social media within the election process has been named as ‘the game changer’ to describe its ability in creating a completely new playing field and audience.

Borrell Associates estimate that 9 percent of the campaign budgets (or about $1 billion) has been allocated to media and social media.


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