EDITORIAL: Be cautious in new campaigning era

As the presidential primaries carry on, news outlets are covering every possible angle that can be written about. If you turn on your television, you can tune in to the debates of the Democratic and Republican candidates and even stream a rally they are holding. The elections are so heavily covered that it can become overwhelming.

So what do you do? You’re likely going to turn off the TV and log on to Twitter or Facebook to see what your friends are up to in order to escape the buzz of the primaries. But there is no escape.
Social media has become one of the most prevalent forms of communication and news in our generation. Social networks grant users the ability to keep post from anywhere in the world about anything in the world. These websites are now the largest platforms for candidates to campaign.

Donald Trump is most noted for causing Twitter fights among other candidates and even news reporters. Trump and other candidates use social media to check in with supporters, update followers on where they are, and deliver their messages on key issues all in 140 characters or less.
The presence of candidates on social media can now more easily influence voters. Before, you would have to closely follow the news and radio or make it to rallies in order to hear about a candidate’s stances. Now, they can be found on Facebook or Instagram and stories can be found on candidates from online news publications.

The problem is, voters, and especially younger voters, now have to discern fact from possible fiction. Aside from this, the annoyance of other users’ posts on this topic make it too easy to tune out of the primaries altogether.

Caution must be taken to not fall into the trap of supporting the most popular candidate or the one that appears in your feed the most. The primaries are an important period of the election season and shouldn’t be reduced to a funny meme. Young voters need to be wary as we approach the general election.