Blog 5- Did Social Media and the Internet Give Trump the Election

Phillip Sternitzke- @PSpepper

2016’s presidential election may have been the most divisive in American history. With elections during my lifetime, never have the American people been so at odds. Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump were at opposite ends of the spectrum, and for the past year and a half people have just been supper pissy at each other. But finally, the election came to an end this past week; with a little over 60 million people million votes cast for the real-estate mogul. Say what you will about the candidates, but I’m pretty sure everyone can agree that the election was a shit show start to finish. So while many were not happy with the results, at least the process is over. But the question has been raised, how did Trump win? Clinton was up in every poll, all the predictions said she was going to win, is how did Trump pull it out? In my opinion the answer is simple. It was the internet.

Before we get started, I think it’s important for you to know my opinion; and personally I don’t care. I didn’t vote for either of them, I wrote in. I will a little part of me wanted to see Trump win just to see what would happen. Anyways, people were very curious how Trump won the election. If you looked at the polls, you would have guessed that Clinton would have won. If you looked on the internet, you would have guessed that Trump would win. I think TechCrunch put it best, “social media did a better job at predicting Trump’s win than the polls.” Analytics of social media showed higher growth for Trump’s social media, more positive sentiments towards him, and more social media engagements regarding Trump for most of the year; and this wasn’t just for Twitter, it stretched throughout all measureable social media. It was clear that social media was a bigger fan of Trump than it was Clinton. On top of that, Trump was almost constantly more searched for on the internet than Trump was. A similar article from BBC showed the same results and attitude as well. And this is just social media, the online forums and various other sites were a whole different story. From smaller nit communities like 4chan to major sites like Reddit, it was clear that Trump had a huge and loving following.

This election was quite something, and it was something that surprised a lot of people. If you paid attention to the mainstream media, you probably thought that Clinton was going to win. Turns out that wasn’t the case. But if you looked towards the internet, it was clear that Trump stood a real chance of winning. And that’s what happened. And the 45th president of the United States of America will be a man who was most well known for being the host on a reality TV show. It should be an interesting 4 years.


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UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism