The use of social media played an enormous role in the recent United States election. Using social media for campaigning became a smart tool back in the 2008 election when Barack Obama brought new ideas to his presidential campaign. In the 2012 election, there were obvious differences between the use of social media for campaigning between Obama and Romney. In 2016, we had the highest rate of social media use for a presidential campaign yet.
Former US President Barack Obama used a numerous amount of social networking sites in his 2008 campaign. The tools used in the Obama Online operation were his own personal website, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Myspace, SMS/ callcenters, online advertisements, and a blog. All of these tools are what helped increase people’s knowledge of Obama and his ideas if he were to become President of the United States and helped him to win the 2008 election. By using various social media platforms, Obama was able to get the support of many young Americans who use those social media websites on a daily basis: “Obama had won nearly 70 percent of the vote among Americans under age 25– the highest percentage since U.S. exit polling began in 1976” according to US News. Ever since the 2008 election, the use of social media for political campaigns has become more and more necessary for winning elections.
In the 2012 US Presidential election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, it was evident that Obama knew about more social network platforms in order to reach out to young voters, where as Romney, who is older than Obama, was not as up to date with social media, so he used far less social media platforms for his presidential campaign. When comparing the Obama and Romney, Obama used about 10 different social media sites to campaign for the election, where as Romney only used 5. Campaigning on social media platforms helped Obama get the attention of young voters and keep them up to date with his campaign.
In the most recent US election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, campaigning on social media platforms was extremely important in order to succeed. Facebook played a big role in the election, especially for Trump. One of the biggest scandals from the 2016 election was about the fake news on Facebook. There were many articles posted on Facebook that were bringing a lot of attention to Trump, and although it was not all good news about Trump, it still brought a lot of attention to him. Stanford did a study on social media and fake news in the 2016 election, where they looked at the changes in media and politics and how fake news affected the presidential campaign. Considering that many people use social media sites, such as Facebook, to get news, when these people saw the fake news stories posted on their Facebook they actually thought that they were real because often times real news is shared on Facebook. Because of this, some people believe that campaigning on social media platforms skews the election results. Over the past several years, we have seen how much campaigning with social media has influenced the outcome of the election.