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Social media often intensifies the more controversial topics or political standpoints of a presidential election. Not only can social media be a powerful tool for candidates, but it can often be dangerous. When the two leading candidates were going head to head on this most recent presidential election, anxious voters and political operatives were actively online sharing their opinions on social media websites such as Facebook & Twitter. A lot of the political controversies in this election started on social media, and were often amplified & twisted with slanted information. Although this wasn’t the first time social media was used as a political tool, it carried a tremendous amount of pressure and influence over the electorate. Don’t get me wrong, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump used social media to the best of their advantage, but in the end, it was the influencers & supporters that shaped perceptions in favor of their preferred candidate.

The first way social media played a part in the election is it popularized narrow opinions. Who would’ve thought that a “Like” or retweet could determine the state of American politics. Social media acts as safe haven for like-minded people and can confirm their bias views. It always nice to connect with people who support you and share the same affirmations. Assistant professor, Vincent Raynold of Emerson College in Boston told reporters,”Even though social media allows people to be exposed to different political views, people tend to be part of environments where their political opinions are constantly reinforced.” Social media is the most influential platform for the millennial generation, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. Social media also shows the uglier side of political discourse. Not only is social media a way for the voters to inform different audiences, but can often show their ignorance. All in all, this presidential election really showed us how social media played a powerful tool in popularizing political standpoints & exposing the grimy side of people’s psychological viewpoints when faced with political adversity.

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Megan Jefferson

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