Updated: Feb 3, 2019
We already use social media to decide who we are going to vote for.
The last two presidents won the presidency, in large part, due to their campaigns’ social media strategies. According to The Washington Post, Barack Obama earned the title of “the first president of the social media age” by working with “influential celebrities, powerful agents, marketing moguls and social media strategists” to reach out to voters using the tools of communication that they were familiar with.
The Obama Campaign’s strategy can be classified as “the viral approach.” The Harvard Business Review describes this as “attempts to create an ‘epidemic’ of interest through a few targeted influencers, who spread a message among the people to whom they are connected.”
Donald Trump’s marketing experience, long-time interest in politics, and public persona enabled him to leverage social media in very different way. According to Microsoft researcher Duncan Watts, Trump used "big-seed marketing" to communicate with his social media base. He was able to spread his messages immediately and “systematically" because those messages were "seeded" across a large group of voters.
Trump used a seedbed made of over 19 million followers on Twitter, almost 5 million followers on Instagram, and 18 million Facebook followers. The capabilities of his social network were then unintentionally magnified by broadcast and cable networks. The result: a system that allowed the candidate to directly convey his messages to millions of followers online, generate immediate offline attention, and dramatically increase the campaign’s reach. It is now common knowledge that this strategy gave Donald Trump the equivalent of $2 billion dollars in free air time.
Although both of these campaigns' strategies were successful, each president ended up alienating one half of the country. Despite the fact that the two parties were still the logical host platforms for any candidate to secure the presidency from 2008-2016, it’s now the candidate that influences elections, not the two parties.
Candidates need to leverage social media to successfully win an election without running the risk of alienating half of the country. There needs to be a nonpartisan, social media platform where candidates from all ideologies can directly compete for votes on a level playing field. By taking the red and blue team out of the equation, each individual candidate would have to win on their own merit.
The PurpleState™ initiative can be defined as a people-driven effort to establish a digital, multimedia platform designed to allow users to select or run as independent candidates.
If you support our initiative and want to get involved, go to our Get Involved page and find out more about how you can help.