The 2016 election season has been a whirlwind of emotions. From Kanye pledging to run for president, to Donald Trump actually going through with his presidential campaign. It’s safe to say that these next four years are set to differ greatly from the recent past. Despite the controversies and the social media attacks between the presidential candidates, Americans have taken to the polls, following a substantial increase in the number of registered voters. Texas hit a record high of 15.1 million registered voters, which is two million more than registered Texas voters during the 2012 election. Social media and advertising campaigns can take some credit for the influx of registrations, but first let’s see how they did it.
Facebook jumped head first into the election this year. Now, I don’t mean all the articles that are taking over your timeline that your friends and family are sharing. I’m instead talking about the “Register Now” button that Facebook put on their website, back in September. From the 22nd to the 26th of September, Facebook reminded users to register to vote in time for this year’s election. With the “Register Now” button, the Facebook users were directed to vote.usa.gov. Within a few days, voter registration shot up substantially. The figure below, from the Center for Election Innovation and Research, shows how much of an increase each of the following states had. The section in yellow are the days that the “Register Now” button was on Facebook.
Not only did Facebook influence voter participation; other social media platforms pushed the general public to get out there and make their voice heard. One campaign that went viral was the video by Joss Whedon. The writer and director of Avengers wanted to use his skills in media production to spread the word that voting is a heroic act. It’s all too common for American citizens to think that their vote doesn’t necessarily matter, and that is exactly why Whedon made the Save the Day video. He used celebrities to attract attention to the importance of everyone’s vote while adding in humor and creating a light-hearted feel.
Social media played a big role in this year’s election, as we explained in a previous HMG Creative post, The Debate on Social Media. Facebook and humorous videos, like the one above, are just a small part of the media frenzy surrounding the 2016 election. However, the most important voices are the American citizens, making their voices heard, on or before November 8th. Times are changing, so get ready.