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Michelle Fong, Staff Writer

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Towards the end of the Hofstra program, there was a panel of CNN reporters who had discussed with us the role of social media in campaigns, specifically in this election of 2016.

In 2008, Obama leveraged Facebook pretty well as it was the most popular social media site at the time. Since then, Twitter and Snapchat have surfaced, today being the most attractive and trendy social media apps.

In this election, Donald Trump has used social media which, to a great extent, carried him through the election and propelled him like no one else. The interactions that take place through the lens of social media are examined by the press, other candidates, and the people of America, and in some instances give off a sense of authenticity. There are inevitably mistakes which can become big news stories, but that’s where major part of his campaign and support sprouts from.

The CNN Panel has also given us insight into the intentions of the candidates during their campaigns, and what they predict will attract the most helpful attention in the media. Empathy, happiness, and silliness all work really well to develop a likability which, as we all know, is essential to being a politician. The, “omg I can’t believe that happened” motive has become a drive behind these stories covered by the media.

However, interestingly enough, the CNN panel themselves admitted that they were not the only “reporters” covering most of these breaking stories, and that the audience is also part of the story, the source of information. They know where to find information, and with social media, this kind of access allows the people to be a part of the process as well.

When the news company receives the potential new information, they verify the authenticity and dependability of that piece of information. Through the audience, the news company can then enrich storytelling and journalism.

Campaigns work extremely hard to prevent media from seeing impactful moments like the one of Hillary being helped into the car by her staff because of pneumonia. Without the help of the audience, that withheld critical information would not have been seen by the public and people would not have known about Hillary’s pneumonia.

Therefore, it is that much more important to speak the language of the social media platform as a current and future candidate and politician. If ill-handled, you may come across as untrustworthy and pre-rehearsed or rash and immature. With the advanced technology and faster than ever communication of today, every single mistake could be broadcasted to the world within a few seconds, which can determine the fate of a politician.

With the candidates of this year’s election, unpredictability is certainly a crucial factor that has been driving the ongoing discussion on why this election has been distinct to any other we have had. Luckily, social media has provided the details and examples of each candidate’s flaws.

Through the presidential debate, a lot can be learned from the candidates, not just their policies, but their potential and suitability for governing this country. In this situation of high stakes, how they would perform in negotiations with higher stakes regarding the country is revealed, from a wider perspective.

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Massapequa High School's chief source of news.
Conversing with CNN