In an election cycle that was anything but typical, social media — especially the two social-media giants, Facebook and Twitter — played an outsized role.
From tweeting about sex tapes at 3 a.m. to posting photos of a taco bowl to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, Donald Trump utilized social-media platforms to dominate the daily news cycle — and to circumvent a mainstream media he often found unfriendly. However, it may have been Hillary Clinton who used the tools most effectively.
Clinton’s account garnered more interactions — likes, comments, and shares — than Trump’s, and she penned the most re-tweeted tweet of the election.
Her “Delete your account” tweet, responding to Trump’s tweet about President Obama’s endorsing Clinton, earned over half a million re-tweets. She also earned 101,000 re-tweets after her campaign staffer was live-tweeting the presidential debate and sarcastically wrote, “‘I never said that.’ — Donald Trump, who said that,” with a link to Trump’s 2012 tweet on global warming being a Chinese hoax. Ironically, that 2012 tweet soon became Trump’s third most re-tweeted posts of the election, with 98,000 re-tweets.
On Facebook, Trump has significantly more followers: 12 million, in stark contrast to Clinton’s 8 million. Yet, according to USA Today, Clinton’s account is more active; she has garnered in total 189,547,000 likes, comments, or shares (to Trump’s 188,974,000).
As traditional media structures continue to fragment, candidates will look for new ways to take their message directly to the voters. In all likelihood, this year was only the beginning.