By Mackenzy Hand
I think I speak for everyone when I say the 2016 election took more than a few unexpected turns. To me, this election was fascinating, and it wasn’t just because it was the first election I was able to vote in. It was fascinating because of the way I was able to follow it so closely, and play an active role in its process from start to finish. America’s eyes were zoned in on last year’s candidates, watching their every move. But it wasn’t just America that was paying attention, the world was sitting on the edge of its seat, eager with anticipation. All eyes were on us. Why did this happen? What made this kind of worldwide involvement in our election possible? Social media is the answer.
Looking back on elections of the past, you see interest from the American public, and publics from around the globe, but never before was it anything like this. Years ago, we didn’t have the technology that we have today, we weren’t able to communicate with each other this way. Social media has switched the world from passive to active voice in what seems like the blink of an eye. Now more than ever it is easy to voice your own opinions, to communicate with people who have interests similar to your own, and to be a part of movements that are rapidly becoming universally known. Gone are the days of gathering around the television with family and close friends and watching the fall out of an election, and here are the days of action and engagement. Social media companies have made it so easy to follow and engage in what is going on in the world that at this point it has almost become second nature to us. We tailor our accounts to show us what we want to see, read and hear. We get notifications almost as soon as an important event has occurred and it gets shared, liked, and retweeted from there until almost the entire world is talking about it.
It will be interesting to see where the social media trend will take us. Experts and professionals in the field have not been able to agree or disagree on the one question that matters; is social media bringing us closer together, or is it tearing us apart? Ultimately, we will have to wait and find out the answer to that question. I feel that social media has is benefits and that it has its drawbacks. I enjoy it as much as the next person, but is it always being used for good? Is it good to have this much out in the open and made easily accessible to the public, or do we need some privacy? These are questions that don’t come with easy answers.