The Role of Social Media and the Election

The Role of Social Media and the Election

Facebook is a social media platform that is commonly used to connect with family, friends, and associates. In addition, movements (like Black Lives Matter) used social media to spread their messages and beliefs.  Political campaigns (like Feel the Bern/ Bernie Sanders) used social media to reach out to possible voters.  However with the recent discourse of the presidential election, social media (including Facebook) has become a way to belittle someone with an opposing viewpoint.  Political candidates and political leaders were mocked for things not related to politics.  Racial slurs and sexual comments were common place.  Many people had to unfriend, un-follow, or block someone on social media.  Some people completely disconnected from social media by deleting their accounts.  Others avoided social media or limited the amount of time spent on social media.  A few people stopped watching the news and other sources of media during and after the election.

In the article called Post-Election, Overwhelmed Facebook Users Unfriend, Cut Back, NPR interviewed over a hundred Facebook users that altered their social media usage due to the election.  One interviewer stated that she deleted all of her Facebook friends except for her husband and her children.  Another interviewer remarked that some friendships over forty years old are now over and those friends had to be un-followed/unfriended because of some of their comments.  One of the most frightening remarks came from an interviewers that stated, “It is one thing when you’re insulted by a stranger on an NPR or CNN newsfeed. It’s quite another when you’re being threatened by someone who knows where you live” (Post-Election).  Personal, I have found myself being on both sides of this issue.  I have had to unfriend/un-follow several people, while I was also unfriended by a few people whom befriended during childhood.  After the election, I stopped watching the news and all television for a week.  In addition, I reduced my social media participation to just family and football.  Several weeks after the election, some of the things still being posted make me cringe.  I cannot believe that these are the same people that invited me to their house for birthday parties, sleepovers, and weddings.

Post-Election, Overwhelmed Facebook Users Unfriend, Cut Back. (n.d.). Retrieved November           26, 2016, from http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/11/20/502567858/post-election-overwhelmed-facebook-users-unfriend-cut-back

 

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