Social Media and Technology Will Reshape The Presidential Election Like Never Before

Social Media Week

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In a session at SMW New York about the 2016 Presidential Election, and how social media will play a factor in the race, we heard from Garance Franke-Ruta, Editor in Chief of Yahoo Politics for Yahoo News and Joe Rospars, CEO of Blue State Digital. Emily Bazelon, Staff Writer for The New York Times Magazine, moderated the conversation.

Garance began to talk about the changes to the social media sphere. “Everyone has what I like to call a micro-public. In the past, you needed to be really prominent in your field, or famous in some way, in order to have a public. Now, everybody has an audience.”

She spoke about how someone like Donald Trump, for instance, is using social media. “We are seeing a lot of the candidates use Twitter. As I like to say, Facebook is where the traffic is, Twitter is where the conversation is. Trump is using Twitter himself as a megaphone, a platform, and even as a way to insult other candidates.”

Emily brought up the emergence of Twitter wars during these political campaigns, and how “a small moment can very quickly turn into a big moment.”

Garance and Joe also spoke about some changes in the current media environment. Regarding the millennials, Garance mentioned that “For a generation that has grown up with social media, they are all scholars of authenticity. They are all creators of media, crafters of personas, and all about the presentation of self.”

As Joe mentioned, “One thing that’s different about this election is that the conversation has so centrally moved into Twitter. People are handling those mini-publics differently. It used to be that someone would post something onto their publication’s blog and decide to ignore the comments. I feel like a lot of the journalists now are swimming in the comments section with their publics on Twitter.”

As Emily discussed, the candidates have to master different platforms, that require different talents, whether it be with TV debates, or on social media. Just like any other brand, the candidates must learn to adapt to these new platforms in order to succeed.

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Yale Buchwald

Contributing Writer , New York University


Yale is a Contributing Writer at Social Media Week and The Drum's Found Remote. He is currently a student at New York University and is majoring in Media, Culture, and Communication. Yale aspires to pursue a career in the field of communications, and has an affinity for tech, social media, television, and music.

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