Social media’s effects on the 2016 presidential election

If it were simply a social media numbers game, the presidential election would be over.

Donald Trump is the king of social media among the candidates in this fall’s election, but it hasn’t translated to a lead in the polls as some thought it would, with the increasing importance of social media in the lives of voters -- millennials, in particular.

That appears to be much of the strategy for Trump’s campaign.

“Trump has premised, in a lot of respects, his campaign on his tweeting and his ability to dominate social media and it certainly has been effective for him. Whether it substitutes for a general election strategy and touch voters and get them out, I would still say probably not,” says Duke political scientist Mac McCorkle.

But it seems it at least will put Trump in touch with voters.

“The unique thing about social media in this election cycle is that the media is queuing in on it. So, when Trump sends out a tweet, the media reports it,” says High Point University political scientist Brandon Lenoir.

This strategy certainly seems popular among the campaigns themselves.

“Campaigns always want to have control. They always want to be able to present the narrative that they want,” says Catawba College political scientist Michael Bitzer.

But when you talk to millennials themselves, like UNC Greensboro student April Porter, you begin to wonder if the social media campaigns really are effective.

“I kind of already have an opinion of both of the candidates -- of Trump and of Hillary,” says Porter. “I'm not too proud of either of them. So most of the time I see it as pure entertainment, like, 'He's at this today; she's saying this today.'”

See how the campaigns are using social media in this edition of the Buckley Report.