How Modern Technology Makes Presidents
Modern technology is a major contributor to presidential elections. In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to appear on TV. Granted, it was in black and white, but that was just when TVs were starting to enter U.S. homes. In 1947, Harry S. Truman was the first president to give an address from the White House on TV. And, of course, there’s President Ronald Reagan who gained popularity from actually being on TV. Before becoming the 40th president, Reagan spent two decades on the big screen as an actor.
Recently, the Washington Post gathered 40 years of SNL presidential impersonations. The show has successfully made fun of 17 presidential candidates during its TV broadcasts. But it’s not just TV or the occasional SNL skit that has propelled presidential candidates into office. Today, it’s also the internet, primarily social media.
The first president of the internet
Not-so-coincidental, participation in social media has skyrocketed since 2008 when President Barack Obama first campaigned for office. This year, nearly 78 percent of Americans will have a social media profile. By 2018, worldwide social media users are estimated to reach just under 2 billion. It’s because of this that Obama launched a new campaign strategy unlike any presidential candidate before.
President Obama realized that he could reach more people without the filter of the traditional media because social media allows you to target your audience and receive almost immediate feedback. So, he hones in on the younger generation and leverages the modern technology of social media to campaign. President Obama was so active on Twitter, that he kicked off his 2012 re-election with a tweet, not a press conference or live speech. That same year, Obama’s victory tweet became the most retweeted post — ever.
America’s “Twitter” candidate
Obama’s tenure is coming to an end, with the latest candidates following his footsteps on successful social media campaigns. This week is the Republican Convention and nominee Donald Trump has found himself with 10 million Twitter followers. Throughout the campaign, Trump has proved political analysts wrong by staying ahead of the polls with his extensive social media strategy. In fact, Trump hasn’t spent big bucks on TV ads because he spends loads on digital ads and online advertising. In June alone, Trump spent $1.6 million on digital consulting and online advertising. His opponent, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, only spent $353,000 in online advertising during the same month.
The candidate that creates apps
Hillary is no stranger to social media either. She’s has gone as far as to create aSnapchat-like tool inviting her voters to mock her opponent. “Trump Yourself” is Hillary’s new Facebook app that will superimpose Trump’s controversial slurs onto your photos. It may not be the most graceful campaigning, but Hillary has done exceptionally well appealing to millennials on social media. According to a recentSlate post, Hillary is quite gifted in speaking the language of a millennial fangirl on all the relevant apps. While Hillary may be no queen of social media, she is boasting modern technology in a different way. She has a team of Silicon Valley tech stars working on her campaign. Hillary’s tech team is said to be the largest (and smartest) in history, with more than 50 engineers and developers that came from places like Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
Originally published on the Line2 Blog