What Difference Technology Has Made So Far In US Elections?
Everyone knows Obama’s campaign was the first to kick off a technological revolution in the 2008 electioneering. And after that, in each US election cycle, technology was used. So, where are we heading? Is technology the deciding factor now?
Looking at the Cambridge Analytica scandal’s role in Trump’s win, the answer can be yes, but if that’s the case, why Joe Biden? What made him win the presidency?
You must be thinking, compared to Trump, he has less social following. With just under 3 million Facebook followers and over 9 million on Twitter, Biden cannot surpass Trump, who has 30 million on Facebook and 85 million on Twitter, right?
Well, if we talk about numbers overpowering Trump, that soon is not possible. But the pandemic has made everything possible. It has been a game-changer in this case. It not only fast-tracked a shift that was already taking place, but it also helped Biden’s team look for online influencers. With that said, technology has been a more significant factor than it was earlier. And this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Digital messaging tools that companies rely on to communicate can easily be manipulated. This has already been witnessed several times. Zoom hack, Facebook data leak, and more examples are there. With that said, now, the number of followers doesn’t matter. What matters is how well you can use technology. And Biden has proved it. Even with less followership and less social presence, Biden made a mark on social media. How?
Let’s see the role of technology.
Biden’s Influencer Strategy?
Biden’s team knew in a short time, they cannot gather more followers or make a social presence, but they knew how to use technology and work with influencers. So, what they did was they made Joe Biden sit online with influencers and let them ask open-ended questions on any topic. These interviews were then streamed live on Instagram and were also seen on Facebook and YouTube. This helped captivate voters who were clocking screen time during the lockdown.
While the influencers weren’t that popular, but they were those who could engage people. This made the audience think about Biden. Also, the prompts like “what your administration plans on doing to support working families in regards to child care” made Biden connect well with the audience on a personal level.
Nonetheless, the way Biden chatted live on Facebook about his “Build Back Better” campaign also helped him gain attention. If technology wouldn’t have been there, making this impossible, feasible wouldn’t be seen.
Of course, linking campaigns with technology specifically involving influencers, comes with risk. But technology is a blunt instrument that can set the foundation of America’s Democracy, which has been proved by Biden’s victory.
If you know how to focus on trending issues and give answers to the questions that have never been answered, no one can stop you. Technology is a double-edged sword but how you use it is up to you.
You can use it to spread the right information or can fool people. But you were using anything for wrong purposes; especially technology doesn’t work because here the word spreads like fire.
Hence, Biden uses influencers or, for that matter, technology to connect with people, not to launch a canvass kick-off. He knew in times like this, connecting with people physically, giving speeches by standing behind a podium isn’t going to work, so he used technology as a boon. He used it to pass on the information that he believes not to fool people.
Role of Social Platforms & Mobile Apps
As far as social media is concerned, in the four years since Trump’s win, tech companies have been trying to prevent the spread of misinformation, fake news, and more. But they have failed drastically in this daunting task and are still lagging. On top of that, COVID-19 also created a host of unforeseen challenges that weren’t handled well. But then mobile apps played a bigger part. Using them, Americans were able to know what’s happening and were also able to decide who to choose.
But this doesn’t mean the technology is all positive. There were reports of people showing a lack of confidence in the technology. This resulted from the seeds sown by President Trump due to which people were suspicious about the mail-in voting and thought it could be forged. The level of mistrust went to a different level. So, we can say technology played both a positive and a negative part.
Not only this, misinformation, cyberattacks also were lurking around and were used to manipulate people. Twitter prohibits manipulative posts; co-workers, candidates, and others share political views in a vacuum on social media that spread misinformation and creates chaos. This all made people think of technology as a bane.
In regards to this, a documentary about TikTok’s role in the election says a lot about how people use different skills to benefit from technology. They relate every event with something or the other and put a question for things they don’t like. But, does this mean the technology is changing the way voters think?
What is your opinion about it? Please do share your suggestions, feedback in the comments box below.
Shashank RanaWith the ability to influence individuals, and subconsciously controlling their thoughts, big-tech has changed the election process. It will have far reaching effects if left uncontrolled.
ForbWell put!…Biden’s win shows technology in a right and constructive perspective and that’s exactly what we need. We need to use technology to create value in people’s life and not to spread negativity around.
JackieThis is such an informative article. I think we all have seen how social media and technology influenced the US elections in the 2016 elections as well as in the 2020 elections.