Social media has never played such an important role in the presidential race as it does today. Twitter, Facebook or Instagram already have a huge volume of content in the early stages of campaigning.
Acting as a direct bridge between you and the candidates, it’s easy to see why social media would play such an important role. This communication channel enables you to send messages to your favorite candidate, well, to their social media staff at least. You have a schedule of all the public appearances right under your nose, and you can watch live all the jabs the candidates throw at each other. From polite remarks, to downright outrageous attacks, here you have it all.
The most famous candidates involved in the race, might face each other in the final round. In the blue (Democrat) corner, we have Hillary Clinton –well-known former Secretary of State and first lady of the U.S. from 1993 – 2001. And in the red (Republican) corner, we have Donald J. Trump – real estate developer, TV personality and president of The Trump Organization. These short descriptions don’t really do them justice, but most of us should know their bio.
Hillary Clinton is working hard on social media to improve public perception on certain aspects – for instance her real personality. It is common knowledge that she tries to blend in with the common middle-class folk, even though she’s coming from a wealthy family. This effort is reflected on social media through family posts – pictures, activities and so on. Given her background, her take on confrontation is obviously a lot more diplomatic, choosing to respond with facts and slight sarcasm to even the most personal of attacks.
A few years ago, Donald Trump’s announcements of his possible candidature were not taken seriously. Now there’s a great opportunity and one of the best businessmen in the world has spotted it, of course. If you think about it, Trump’s entire strategy is based on the fact that he can be the president the people need right now. He is the man who gets things done. Running a country can be a business to some extent. If you have a look on Donald Trump’s Twitter profile, you will see only direct, in-your-face tweets. Some are mean, some are hopeful, but they’re always short and clear, reflecting his attitude most of all.
If you’re going to run for president, you have to be ready to take a punch or two. It’s actually more like hundreds of punches on social media, varying from embarrassing college photos, to anything you might have said (ever!), or even your spouse’s adventures.
Speaking of adventures, the most offensive Twitter attack has to be Donald Trump’s infamous retweet: If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America? Labeled as an error made by one of Trump’s social media staffers. The jab at Miss Clinton was supposedly deleted immediately by Trump himself, as soon as he saw the tweet. That wasn’t the only case when Trump’s outspoken personality was reflected on Twitter though. Sometimes not even opponent staffers are safe from his attacks (the Huma Abedin episode).
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton decided to take the high road attack-wise: How do Jeb Bush and Donald Trump differ on immigration? Spoiler alert: They don’t.
Every action on Twitter is basically a reflection of the candidate’s desired (or actual) image. On one hand we have Trump’s fearless come-at-me attitude, and on the other there’s Clinton’s diplomatic fact-based stance.
The race is quite close. On Twitter, Hillary Clinton has the upper hand, surpassing Donald Trump’s 4.18 million followers by about 2%. On overall social media though, we have to give the edge to the red corner contestant. Trump has a total of 8 million followers, as opposed to Clinton’s 5.7 million.
At this stage it’s a bit early to pick a victor, regardless of advantages. Only one thing is certain: social media made the entire presidential race a whole lot more entertaining.