Social Media and the 2016 Election

As the 2016 presidential election rapidly draws closer, social media seems to have become an increasingly popular place for citizens to express their political opinions. Facebookers, Twitter users, and blog owners have all had their say in what they think of this year’s candidates, and how the election will turn out.

All the talk on social media has brought many people closer due to similar opinions, while also turning many against each other. Scrolling down my Facebook account, how inclined am I to comment on a post that doesn’t agree with my mindset? Countless arguments have broken out over the Internet, and people may be less informed voters as a result.

Bringing politics into social media can also help and hinder the candidates. Miscommunication between what a presidential candidate said and what an audience member heard can go viral in minutes, causing others to believe what isn’t true.

On the other hand, something good a candidate is seen doing can also be displayed all over the internet, boosting fans while being viewed with skepticism by critics.

For many voters, there is no in-between for how they feel about the people running; they either like them or hate them. While Donald Trump leads in polls, on social media there is a sharp antagonism between Trump supporters and haters.

Those who favor Bernie Sanders square off against Hillary Clinton supporters. Each side has their own misconceptions about the other, which is causing more of a divide.

While issues should be given serious consideration, matters of race and gender enter the conversation in very uninformed ways. I can’t count how many times I’ve read on social media something along the lines of, “The only people who support Trump are white people!” or “ Bernie Sanders can’t win the Black vote!”

It feels like this election is doing exactly the opposite of what should be done. Instead of uniting citizens (like our Founders first intended centuries ago), we are being torn apart by the pure hatred of people who claim they want to better the nation. Social media seems to be contributing to people not communicating, at least during this election year.

With social media being the fuel that ignites the flame of discontent, I expect that there will not be a day that goes by where I don’t see a fight break out over Twitter or Facebook between my friends over the latest political debate or some statement made by a candidate.