When it comes to politicians and campaigns, social media is seen as a vital medium through which candidates can easily disseminate event and progress info to their constituency. It’s all about keeping that connection between you and the voters that will ultimately lead to a better chance of people going out to vote for you.
But there is another, simpler side of social media that people don’t regard when looking at campaign progress and support: The Followers.
As many of you know, for every profile on social media sites, you have some sort of group tracking it. On Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, you have followers. On Facebook specifically you also have people who can like your page, ultimately to track it. Now, for the most part, this statistic has been disregarded when it comes to analyzing constituent support, but I think that should change.
You see, these groups on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, physically represent (for the most part) the extent of support that a candidate is receiving. Sure, many of these followers are under the voting age, but there are likely thousands, and in some cases millions who are eligible to vote that you have to consider.
Let’s look at some examples:
On Instagram, every current candidate for the president of the United States has a profile. On it, they post constant updates on their campaign whereabouts and participation. The most popular candidate on the Democratic party’s side is Bernie Sanders, with a whopping 3.3 million followers. On the lowest end, we have Tim Ryan with just over 2,000 followers. But not only do we have the present follower count for all these candidates, but there are various websites that track daily following, support (ie. likes), and commenting gains and losses for social media profiles.
But this data is not only important for the democratic primary candidates, but the Republican as well, and ultimately the general election. On the Republican side, President Trump has 13 million followers, while his sole competitor, Bill Weld, has 14,000.
When it comes to general election phase, it will be important to look at how the democratic candidate compensates for the intra-party division in the primaries, and ultimately how much support he/she can garner before November of 2020.
With the constant updating and flow of this data, as well as the tools to record changes in support and presence on these platforms, we have access to the ever-shifting opinions of next-gen voters. People need to start engaging and tracking support and following on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, where there exists a physical manifestation of growing and declining support in the presidential elections.