With just weeks until the 2016 Elections in the U.S. it is clear that this cycle has become the social media-driven elections.
No matter who you support, who you despise or who you wish would just "be quiet" there is an endless supply of Twitter tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram images and YouTube videos to variously inform, annoy or enrage. How to make sense of it all?
First, decide if social media can help you stay informed. If the answer is "no" you can just stop here. But if the answer is "yes" then here are a few suggestions:
• Follow a popular hashtag or hashtags: Some popular hashtags this election season include #election2016, #debates, #debates2016, #trump, #clinton, #donaldtrump, #hillary, #vote, #nevertrump, #hillaryemails
• Explore some new hashtags: There’s an exhaustive list of hashtags (Warning: some are NSFW) on the Top-Hashtags.com website.
• Create a Twitter list: This is simply a way organizing the Twitter "firehose" so that it is more manageable. In other words by viewing a list you are only seeing the tweets of the people you place on that list and not all of the people you follow on Twitter. (For more how to create a list see Using Twitter lists from Twitter). Who should be on your list? A good place to start is adding the Twitter accounts of the candidates, their proxies and their official campaigns. After that add people you think are informative and helpful.
• Like the pages of all the major candidates: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Jill Stein and Gary Johnson
• Like the pages of the political parties: Green, Libertarian, Independents, Democrat and Republican.
• Use the filtering functions of Socialfixer to exclude certain kinds of posts. Although this article from ZDNet talks about using Socialfixer eliminating all political debate from your Facebook feed, the same principles can be applied to cut down on certain types of content in your feed. See How to filter politically sanctimonious Facebook posts from your news feed.
• Use the USA Today/Facebook Barometer to gauge which candidates are doing better or worse based on Facebook activity (likes, shares, mentions).
• Follow the Instagram accounts of … Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein
• Subscribe to the YouTube accounts of … Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
I hope this is an useful primer. Please feel free to post other social media tips around the elections in the comments.
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