Column: Social media takes over first election

by Shannon Slater
edited by Kelsey Hausman

Zoe Yamamoto, a freshman from Hawaii, voted for the first time, November 8th, 2016.

Many voters like Zoe were influenced by the large presence of social media, which was a powerful tool throughout this election. Many of the candidates used social media as a marketing tool to reach these first time voters using a platform that is understood by them.

According to Social Times political candidates spent an estimated $1 billion on social media advertising.

This social marketing is more advanced and widely used every election.

According to a survey of 2,000 students conducted by social media app, Yik Yak, 62 percent of students were registered to vote for the first time this year and 9 percent of those users registered online after being prompted by social media.

(Photo: The Midnight Sun)

(Photo: The Midnight Sun)

“I didn’t actually want to vote, but I thought it would be interesting to see who would win, because my vote would matter,” said Zoe.

According to the PEW Research Center 14 percent of voters use social media as their primary resource for political information.

However, most of the promotions, for the presidential race were not informative but rather short and only attacked the other candidate.

This led to many voters feeling under informed on the candidates’ policies and ideas.  “All of the videos of Trump and the conspiracies against Hillary made it hard for me to make a decision.” said Zoe. Just a month before election day 15 percent of registered voters were undeclared according to Five Thirty Eight.

Zoe felt as if she did not have enough information to make an informed vote, but voted with confidence anyway. She was happy that she was in a key state and her vote, however small, could make a difference in the election.


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