Technology and its impact on our elections

Today, technology plays an evergrowing role in our democracy. It is used for the spread of information, debates, polls, and general discourse. The bulk of influence can be attributed to social media platforms, and there’s a good chance of a candidate’s tweets, Facebook posts or even Snapchats influencing the voters.

This democratization is a good thing. It provides multiple platforms for the candidates to directly communicate with the voters. On Twitter, “Moments” is a new feature in which the best tweets are  curated for viewing. During the debates, a live feed is posted showing peoples’ reactions to what the candidates are saying. This process allows for a wide array of people to view others’ opinions on the debate, providing another form of discourse and another way to shape voters’ opinions.

On Facebook, people go to express their political opinions in the form of long posts. Whereas Twitter has a character limit, Facebook is a platform for lengthy discussion, usually on pressing issues such as Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, etc. Facebook also has a “trending” tab, where users can view others’ reactions to the debate; however, Twitter does a better job at informing its users in real time.

On Snapchat, candidates often post pictures and videos of themselves on the campaign trail. These short clips or pictures allow for the candidates to connect with the voters in a quick manner, and also function as effective soundbites. They also give a look at the behind the scenes of the campaigns, and these are always interesting. For example, on caucus and primary days, Snapchat does a story about the volunteers and candidates trying to sway voters last minute. Snapchat is the most entertaining way to interact with the campaigns, since it is fast and to the point.

Technology allows for everyone to directly push out their opinions. It makes everyone a journalist, allowing them to spread their messages, whether through podcasts, videos, or social media. These mediums keep the public more informed. Over time, as candidates and the platforms learn how to further complement one another, the users of these platforms will become more empowered and will benefit from more direct connection with the candidates.

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