Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The 24-Hour Campaign

Tyler Prich

The New Landscape for Politicians

There are countless ways for a politician to campaign on social media; different platforms, strategies, etc. The candidates in this presidential election have chosen very different strategies for this election; albeit Trump seems to be more or less making it up as he goes. Hillary approaches social with pinpoint PR strategy - with regularly scheduled posts, controlled media, and a consistent brand representation across all platforms. Her campaign even launched a new tumblr page called Letters To Hillary, where she posts children's letters to the presidential candidate.

Whichever is more effective is yet to be seen - Trump has about 3 million more followers, although Hillary tweets, on average, 6 more times per day. What we have seen, is that social media has turned this election into a 24-hour campaign, where you have to be ready to strike at all times.

Tweets at the Ready

Election news breaks every day in today's society, and social media is the place for candidates to respond to it. When news about Clinton's email scandal breaks, the Trump team has to jump on it immediately. When Trump goes on TV and does what Trump does, let's call it speaking his mind, the Clinton campaign has to attack hard.

There is always campaigning to do, because social media does not rest. Clinton tweets about 18 times per day. But that number can be skewed by nights where Trump is in the news, and Clinton is there to jump on it. For instance, last week when Trump visited Mexico raised questions about the Republican nominee's potential leadership, the Clinton campaign spent all night tweeting anti-Trump content up to three times per hour. As I wrote this one, the Clinton campaign is constantly tweeting about comments he made on a news program about Barrack Obama. It's a chess game of moves and counter-moves, and if either side fails to respond appropriately, it can cost them dearly.

What's To Gain From All the Hate?

It seems that the primary goal for Hillary on social media, as we inch closer to the general election, is to simply defame her opponent and shine herself in a brighter light.This wasn't the case during the primary. Her posts have shifted from being based primarily on policy, to being about Trump being a racist liar. Which begs the question, what are we really gaining from these types of posts?

By this point, it's pretty clear that Trump is a racist and a liar. In an election where more people are getting their news from social media than ever before, it's being used as a place to defame an opponent and make one out to be "crooked." Rather, social media has the potential to be a breeding place for ideas, and a spot where candidates can present their ideologies and plans so that the public can make an informed decision.

It will be interesting to see how the strategies evolve as we move closer and closer to November.

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