Today the world is waking up with the greatest hangover since Brexit. We have entered the era of Trump/Pence. In this opinion piece, Michael Jenkins from Shout! Web Strategy explores the highs and lows of social media and the US election
Dubbed the ‘Twitter Election’ this historic race to the White House has played out for the past 18 months across social media tweets from candidates, voters, media and celebrities, with everyone weighing in on the election that divided not only a nation – but the world.
We’ve had banter, memes, support and slander – who could forget Clinton’s now infamous ‘Delete your account’ tweet – the most retweeted tweet of the entire election.
And then, after Melania Trump was accused of plagiarizing former First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech came an avalanche of memes as the Internet made sure Melania was given credit for her other prophetic moments.
To say social media set the tone of this historic election is an enormous understatement. In this election social media trumped traditional media (sorry, too soon for puns?) giving candidates their own voice without the usual reliance placed on news outlets during the campaign.
When you’re Trump with over 13.5m Twitter followers and Clinton, just shy of 10m followers – you’re running your own news agenda; the good, the bad and the downright dirty.
Trump was at the helm of his self-professed movement via twitter, prompting rivals to respond to his 140-character attacks (that is, until his aides reportedly pulled the plug this week on unsupervised tweeting).
Clinton was also clever at using social media to her advantage, launching a Spanish-language Twitter feed and website. And at July’s Democratic National Convention, Clinton called out Trump’s reliance on social media, delivering a blistering attack that went viral in its own right. “A man you can bait with a tweet,” she said, “is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.”
On Tuesday, it was voters who went to Twitter, expressing their support for one candidate or the other. The social network said more than 40 million tweets about the election were sent since midnight. That compares with 31 million for the entirety of Election Day in 2012.
So who really won the Twitter battle throughout those dying moments?
#Trump – 1.21m tweets
Where’s Hillary? Sadly, she’s not even trending right now. It’s been radio silence from her to her 10m + Twitter followers; with her last tweet more than six hours prior to her conceding defeat.
Needless to say, hers is one Twitter account we’ll be watching closely over the coming weeks – #trumpcake.