Social media influenced the 2016 election more than any election before. According to Convince&Convert’s website, “the Twitter population is still 17 million people, which is roughly equivalent to the combined populations of Connecticut, Oregon, Kentucky, Kansas and Oklahoma.”
With so many people and so much time spent on media, every tweet sent out by each candidate was analyzed. Twitter both directly and indirectly influenced who the next president of the United States would be. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and their teams, used Twitter in very different ways throughout the process.
On Donald Trump’s Twitter, most of his tweets are crafted by himself. Recently, Trump had his Twitter privileges taken away from him; however, prior to this, he tweeted whatever he felt or thought. Trump’s followers love that he isn’t afraid to attack anyone and he isn’t always politically correct. This comes out more than ever on his Twitter. Trump is different than other Washington insiders because he doesn’t tweet in a politically correct fashion. Although his tweets may be cruder than others in similar positions, his supporters like that they come from him and are uncensored.
On FiveThirtyEight’s website, they show the percentage of tweets that each candidate uses containing exclamation marks. Clinton uses exclamation marks 7 percent of the time, while Trump uses them 70 percent of the time. Clinton uses one exclamation mark 6.6 percent of the time. Trump uses one exclamation mark for 59.6 percent of the time. This shows Trump’s enthusiasm and although it may not be as politically correct, it comes across as sincere.
Two of Trump’s top tweets are when he called out Fox News for being biased. He also called Hillary Clinton a hypocrite for favoring gun control while having the Secret Service protect her. Both Fox News and Hillary Clinton are seen as having a lot of power and Trump went after them fearlessly. This bravely appealed to many voters.
On the other hand, Hillary Clinton’s Twitter is the polar opposite. Although Trump obviously had a team help him with tweets as the election trail heated up, Clinton’s team for the most part controlled her entire Twitter. Clinton’s tweets are pretty basic and are all politically correct.
In an election where Trump’s selling point was that he was something different than the Wall Street and Washington Elite, Clinton’s team fell right into the trap that Trump had set up. Most of her tweets were not sincere or even from her.
Another reason that many people don’t like Clinton is because they find her untrustworthy. By having a team tweet for her, she doesn’t connect with her followers at all and doesn’t make herself anymore trustworthy.
For this election and for what people wanted in a candidate, Trump used his Twitter much more effectively than Clinton’s team did. Trump expressed bigger emotions in his social media. In future elections, Twitter and social media as a whole will influence the results. The internet and the media are quickly transforming the future. In the meanwhile, for many candidates, social media could be the difference between winning or losing the election.