What’s happening? The ugliest race to the Presidential election is within 30-feet of the finish line. Tomorrow Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump make like eggs and scramble to become the 45th President of the United States.
Where can I see it?: The kindest live coverage is likely to unravel on BBC One and its news channel. If you want to see the low-blows as they happen, best get on Twitter.
What do you mean?: Controversial but powerful candidate Donald Trump, has allegedly lost his social media privileges. His unique digital campaign strategy either alienates or recruits supporters, en masse, in just 140-characters. With no time to mend broken bridges, his campaign is taking no chances.
Can Twitter really be so divisive?: Yes. Even The New York Times is taken aback. It published 6,000 insulting words used by the candidate on Twitter, filling a double-page spread. As soon as the exit polls hit the media at around 12am GMT tomorrow night, it’s guaranteed Trump will find his way back onto Twitter, somehow.
What about Twitter consipracy theories?: The Kremlin has a ‘cyber army’ of paid social sharers who publish pro-Russian messaging on the web. The ‘troll army’ flood every channel, 24-hours a day with pro-Putin sentiments and statements. Considering the former KGB officer’s fondness for Donald Trump, anything could happen.
The Sun has also reported that fake tweets posted by social bots could swing the election. Chris Beckett, professor of media and politics at the London School of Economics says the platform: “won’t be used to identify swing voters and nudge them to vote for you.”
Sounds like Twitter is more trouble than it’s worth?: If you take it with a pinch of salt, Twitter can be valuable. It’s a sucker for hearsay and fallacy goes viral in the blink of an eye.
The FT’s Jim Pickard says: “Some academics and journalists fear that the shattering of the old systems,” such as newspaper reporting, or press releases and rigorous fact-checking “is allowing myths, lies and distortions to spread like wildfire through our interconnected screens. A baseless anecdote about a prime minister inserting his private parts into a dead pig’s head? MI5 working to undermine Jeremy Corbyn? All sorts of unverified material can go viral swiftly.”
And plenty of misinformation about text voting has arisen already…
I think I’ll avoid social media: Why deny yourself the discussion? As the states reveal their Republican or Democratic-leaning, off-screen commentators, journalists, and celebs start using Twitter as their platform to sound off and make predictions. But be aware that without factual reporting to structure and filter the Twitter data, you may get stuck in an echo chamber.
Okay, okay. I’m convinced. Who should I follow?: @RealDonaldTrump, @HillaryClinton and @BarackObama, but keep close tabs on #election2016, and #ImWitHer/#ImWithHer, too. Pro-Hillary campaigners are using it support their candidate of choice, whereas pro-Trump supporters are using it to trash talk.