“Delete your account.” With this simple three word tweet late last week, it could be argued that presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, officially brought the battleground for the White House to Twitter. The Twitterverse took notice – making this Mrs. Clinton’s most favorited tweet of all time.
With the evolution of social media, there has been a shift in the way that politicians communicate with each other, and people can now easily follow the live action on Twitter. Hashtags and retweets have become some of the most valuable marketing campaign currency. However this isn’t the first time a newly evolved medium has had a strong hand in the presidential election.
The Medium Becomes the Message
In the 1920s and 30s, radio literally gave political candidates a voice, where speaking skills and speeches were judged right from the living rooms of America. Franklin Roosevelt mastered this art through his fireside chats that engaged the nation.
In the 1960s, television put a face to the voices of politicians. In many regards, this was the birth of the modern political campaign. John Kennedy harnessed the new medium to appeal to the young, popular culture which played a significant role in his victory over Richard Nixon.
Clinton’s Twitter Evolution
Early on in Clinton’s current campaign, she was very scripted and predictable in her Twitter posts, but her social media presence has evolved into a broad and appealing platform targeted toward a younger audience. Mrs. Clinton’s Twitter account has become increasingly responsive and agile, responding to live issues and news as well as the rhetoric of her presumptive presidential rival, Donald Trump.
While her three word tweet may appear to be an aggressive command, it does have some cultural history behind it. The phrase “delete your account” has been in the “Black Twitter” community for some time now, and is used as an insult. Although this tweet is funny, it can also be interpreted as a sign of Clinton’s attempt to reach young black voters in a more casual way.
Since joining the Twitter community in 2013, Clinton has gained almost 7 million followers. It has been noted that Hillary has a staff of dozens producing original content, including news stories, professional video, all managed by an audience development team.
The Don Of Twitter
By comparison, Donald Trump has been an active Twitter user since 2009 and has over 9 million followers. His Twitter dexterity has been a wide topic of conversation throughout the 2016 election. Trump’s impulsive and uncensored personality is a perfect fit for this medium.
Multiple times a day he responds to rumors, comments on media topics, and engages with his legion of followers. He’s often swift to respond to developing news (and also first to provoke, rather than inform). With enough content and continuous posts, he has demonstrated a unique ability to control a large part of the electoral conversation.
The insults are sure to get nastier as November 8th approaches, and social media has provided us a front row seat to evaluate the tactics of politicians on Twitter. Who knows – in a future campaign maybe we’ll be casting our votes from the platform as well.
SME Paid Under