Desktop version

Home arrow Communication

  • Increase font
  • Decrease font

<<   CONTENTS   >>

Social Media Warfare Tactics of Candidates for Elected Office

Candidates for elected office used the entire range of social media warfare tactics discussed in previous chapters. However, the electoral process has its own set of unique targets and candidates often used social media warfare tactics carelessly and without thought. Candidates were not all equal in their ability to use social media warfare tactics and many committed gaffes; and when they didn’t, their campaign staff often blundered for them.

The recklessness and lack of savvy on the part of candidates resulted in the use of social media warfare tactics as a mixed-up mess rather than in a clearly thought-out manner, and candidates often used defensive tactics to try to mount an offense and vice versa. Clearly, many of the candidates were downright amateurish in their use of social media. For the purpose of analyzing social media warfare tactics used in the 2016 campaigns, a separation of defensive and offensive tactics is unnecessary because although the candidates used various tactics, most of the time they just did not know what they were doing. Basically, political candidates themselves are horrible communicators, while some just did stupid things others were crass and crude. For some reason, a good portion of the population of the United States find the crass and crude appealing. A tailored list of

Table 6.1 Social Media Warfare Tactics in Political Campaigns

Blended threats: Combined activities to accomplish offensive or defensive objectives.

Confusion: Creating and perpetuating uncertainty among voters and contributors.

Deception: Making promises that will not or cannot be kept and the use of invalid or incorrect information.

Divisiveness: Instigating hatred and suspicion among categories of voters.

Exposure: Release of damaging information about opponents.

Influence: Convincing contributors, supporters, and voters on the validity and legitimacy of a position or action of a candidate.

Nullify opponents: Efforts to discredit opponents.

Persuasion of non-aligned entities: Trying to convince undecided contributors and voters of the validity and legitimacy of a position or action of a candidate.

Recruitment and indoctrination: Drawing people into supporting a candidate and teaching related doctrine rhetoric.

Reinforcing alliance partners: Showing support to organizations that endorse a candidate.

Relationship building: Establishing cooperative efforts with like-minded organizations, contributors, and voters.

Trolling: Posting opposing or critical messages to existing social media posts.

social media warfare tactics of the 2016 political electoral process is presented in Table 6.1.

One of the challenges in analyzing social media warfare posts by candidates during the 2016 election is determining what some of the candidates were really doing when they used social media. Fact checkers found a vast number of factual errors made by candidates when speaking or using social media during campaigns. Given the large number of factual errors, it is somewhat difficult to determine if the candidates were just ignorant about what they were saying, or they were deliberately trying to cause confusion by creating and perpetuating uncertainty among voters and contributors, or they were willing to say and do anything to deceive or cause divisiveness. The tactic of divisiveness is a natural part of election campaigns that helps to create groups of voters dedicated to one candidate or the other. This will require considerably more detailed research and analysis than allowed here.

<<   CONTENTS   >>

Related topics