WACO, Texas (FOX 44) — Social media has become a way of life in today’s society and many use it to promote themselves, products, or messages. Politicians are starting to hop on the trend of targeting newer platforms to reach more voters.
“Social media is a ginormous component of how we win elections,” Dr. Scott Varda said, a Communications Professor at Baylor
Society now lives in the digital world, with platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram, along with older platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Today, political candidates are using those websites to their advantage as they gear up for an election.
But can their online presence change the public’s perception?
“We’re seeing some authenticity and some real personality coming through on these candidates,” Social Media Expert Caryn Brown said. “And it’s not just the polished here’s my airbrushed headshot and the perfect little, you know, commercial with me walking my family.”
Brown explained that a politician’s social media presence could make or break their campaign, as it all depends on what they put online.
Dr. Varda explained that Tik Tok is now one of the top used social media platforms in the world and the reason many candidates are using it is due to the nature of their reach when compared to other platforms.
“The other sort of important difference between the social media possibilities of Tik Tok versus the social media possibilities of another platform, however, are things like virality and intensity of engagements,” he said.
Varda touched on gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke’s Tik Tok presence and how he believes O’Rourke is using his platform to show that he is open to taking questions from people on the other side of the aisle.
Brown explained that in past elections, many on social media may have felt like their voices are not heard and their votes do not matter.
But with the use of social media, she says that could change.
“A lot of the politicians on Tik Tok are reinforcing that you make a difference and your vote counts,” Brown said. “And I think what a lot of that, again, that young demographic is feeling like it doesn’t matter if I go and vote, it’s not going to change anything. And so kind of overturning that mindset and that thought process.”
But the question still remains, can social media change the outcome of an election?
“I think that’s one that we are obviously not going to have an answer to until, you know, sometime late in late night, late at night in November. But there’s a very there’s a very real possibility,” Varda ended.