Has Digital Media caused Politics to go wrong? Trump Edition
Hello all and welcome to another blog post! Another week, another dire topic- this week its Trump!
Unlike Last week, I believe that there is no need for me to be brave and state my opinion on Trump as we can all universally agree that he’s just an awful person, who shockingly became the leader of the free world…
Throughout Trump’s election, it is argued that fake news and social media, in particular, Twitter, played a major role in influencing the public’s decision whether to vote for him or not. However, can we really blame this monstrosity on digital media? Or are we to blame?
This week we will continue the discussion if digital media has caused politics to go wrong… Trump Edition.
The Twitter President
Throughout the election, Trump weaponized Twitter and used it greatly to his advantage. His strategic approach to tweeting appeared before the day became light, whilst people were making their way to work. The early morning tweets included topics which had been on his mind all night. There is evidence showing that he would post after the Fox morning show after getting angry with feeling persecuted.
Isn’t it reassuring to have a level-headed president who puts a lot of time and thought in even the smallest public actions?
Unfortunately, by having a large following of 46.7m Twitter followers he has access to a large window into the kind of message he wants to communicate. Trump claims that he doesn’t trust traditional media as there is a filter which molds meaning, he believes that social media is the most effective way to connect with the country
Here I agree with Trump, social media is the fastest way to communicate with people and is vital in sending messages to the public fast. However, this doesn’t make traditional media an unreliable source, there can also be filters on social media meanings. A reason why Trump may believe that is because there is a lot of negative press about him and he just doesn’t like to hear it.
A Twitter-based presidency
“I doubt I would be here if it weren’t for social media”
Trump credits social media greatly for his election, in particular, Twitter. He utilized social media as a way to keep his audience interested and to avoid the fake media out there, he wanted his audience to clearly view him as the person he is and not allow other people to create a fake persona
Don’t worry Trump we all have all witnessed your true colors
Like Brexit, the 2016 presidential elections showed us how the accelerating pace of technology can be used to shape social change and public agenda. First Brexit, now Trump, two prime examples of the power of technology.
Examples which we should take as a lesson and a warning.
Trump loves social media
There is no doubt that Trump plays social media to his advantage, his main concern is ensuring his shareability- as long as he is talked about, he is winning
Like the Brexit leave campaign, Trump uses dramatic and emotional phrases in his tweets/public social media messages. This is done to maintain his media dominance and to make sure that he is always talked about, especially when he makes a mistake.
Who doesn’t remember this tweet?
Here one can argue that most of Trump’s tweets, even the ones with grammatical errors, are strategic and intentional in becoming viral. The ability to enter the household via digital technology, especially for a presidential candidate, is what matters in politics in the digital age.
On the other hand, I believe that it was a genuine unintentional error as it’s Trump, a silly grammatical error is expected
Did Fake news elect Trump?
After the 2016 presidential election, many were concerned that fake news greatly altered the results of the presidential election. Most fake news articles released around the elections was aimed to help Trump win but it is not entirely clear if the articles completely swayed the election
“15% of respondents said they recalled seeing the ‘real’ fake news headlines, 14% said they remembered the fake news headlines, 8% said they believed”
this shows how susceptible people are to believing ideas they already want to believe but also show how in this case fake news didn’t completely help Trump
But most fake news articles were aimed at Trump winning, and he won?
Let us know in the comments below if you believed that fake news helped Trump win
Here we can find a lot of similarities between the EU referendum and the 2016 presidential elections. (if you haven’t read it our Brexit Blog, check it out here! ;)) Digital media played a major role in both events and lead to results you and I never would have foreseen. But again, by seeing the impact fake news had on the election it leads us with the same lasting thought. Are humans purely to blame for politics going wrong?
If we were behind the influence of fake news and trolls surely, we impacted digital media instead of digital media impacting politics?…
Next week we discuss the creation of digital democracy, how far have evolved and how much further there is for us to go.
As always, reliable sources provided
Buncombe, A., 2018. Donald Trump one year one: How did the Twitter President changed social media and the country’s top office. The Independent [online], 17 January 2018. Available from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/the-twitter-president-how-potus-changed-social-media-and-the-presidency-a8164161.html [Accessed 8 December 2018]
Hollinger, J., 2017. Trump, social media and the first Twitter-based presidency. Diggit magazine[online],11 September 2017. Available from: https://www.diggitmagazine.com/articles/Trump-Twitter-Based-Presidency [Accessed 8 December 2018]
Mccaskill, N., 2017. Trump credits social media for his election. Politico[online], 20 October 2017. Available from: https://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/20/trump-social-media-election-244009 [Accessed 8 December 2018]
Kurtzleben, D., 2018. Did Fake News on Facebook help Elect Trump? Here’s what we Know. NPR[online], 11 April 2018. Available from: https://www.npr.org/2018/04/11/601323233/6-facts-we-know-about-fake-news-in-the-2016-election?t=1543923072441 [Accessed 8 December 2018]