Presidential campaigns benefit from both positive, negative social media interaction

Robin Boch, Associate Views Editor

This is an opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

In this presidential election, Twitter has played a role as a news source and a way to hear from candidates. From Donald Trump tweeting “I love Hispanics!” to Hillary Clinton tweeting “Delete your account.” at Trump, it is clear that the good, the bad and the humorous get shared by the world through social media.

Everything tweeted has helped each candidate’s campaign. Twitter has been a major outlet for free media coverage for both candidates. When interacting with tweets, people draw attention to and support candidates, even when they believe they are doing so in a negative light.

This free media coverage is better known as “earned media” among campaign analysts. This information spreads through television, social media, newspapers, etc. without being paid for or supported by candidates or their political action committees. When a candidate tweets something and people respond to it, this response is an example of earned media.

Trump has had great successes with this technique. In March, the firm Quant calculated that Trump had already made $2 billion worth of media coverage. As of March, Clinton had received earned media coverage totaling $746 million. Her amount of earned media is substantial, but still nowhere near that of Trump’s.

This trend is concerning when one realizes how the candidates have gained this much free media attention. Often, people reply to or retweet a tweet to make fun of it. Every time one of the 4,218 people retweeted and 16,946 people liked his tweet, “If crazy @megynkelly didn’t cover me so much on her terrible show, her ratings would totally tank. She is so average in so many ways!” Trump was earning free attention, even if some reactions to this tweet were negative.

Many people would argue in response that not all attention is good attention. Trump, however, would most likely disagree, as his controversial tweets, speeches and other statements have earned him free airtime on nearly every talk show and news channel. America cannot seem to stop talking about him.

Before reacting and responding to anything that a candidate tweets, the American public should always think about how this is affecting the larger scheme of the election. Unfortunately, even a negative comment on a controversial Trump tweet can result in earned media.

Robin is a freshman at Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached at [email protected]