The social media battleground: An Elections won and lost in the mire of tweets

By Shaw Rooney

 SOCIAL MEDIA is on the rise in the political landscape and politicians are wising up to it. This is has never been more pertinent than in US Presidential race of 2016.

Professor David McGillivray who is the Chair in Event and Digital Cultures, School of Media, Culture and Society at UWS discusses Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s pivotal use of Twitter and Facebook in the battle for the White House.

Speaking on the influence that social media has had on the election and its progression from the fringes of broadcast into the main sphere of media, Professor McGillivray commented

“Social media is inseparable to how politicians go about campaigning, this is the first time that social media has become the medium of choice for political campaigning”

Further implementing that social media as a whole is becoming a powerhouse in the political agenda.

Donald Trump has been a controversial figure ever since he announced his intentions to become the Republican candidate in the election, his head on and in your face personality has raised many political and public eyebrows but Professor McGillivray says there is method to the madness.

McGillivray said: “Donald Trump is extremely successful at using social media whether we agreed with the comments that he makes is almost irrelevant because what he has done is create a whole lot of noise”

He added: “So he can talk about a variety of issues such as gun control and immigration and fit them all into one tweet and it generates a huge amount of activity from that”

Trumps dominance in the social media battlefield has been evident from the start, as his personal touch to his tweets has shown Hillary Clinton’s tweets to seem cold and strategic in response.

Yet what is evident from the Twitter battle between Trump and Clinton is that as Professor McGillivray points out both candidates realise the importance of the publics interaction online “Both candidates have realised that social media is the most influential place to camping and that is a massive change from five years ago to go from the secondary to the primary space”

Whether the fierce campaigning of Trump online will effect the final outcome of the race only time will tell, what we do know now is that social media is seen as the new battleground for politicians and it’s only going to get bloodier.

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