Social media played unique role in 2016 presidential election

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Social media has become the Town Hall for discussion over a long campaign season.

Many social media users are tired of the posts, because so many of them are downright hateful.

However, just when you thought it was over, the political talks are just as heated following the election.

Dr. Syb Brown, Belmont University professor (Photo: WKRN)
Dr. Syb Brown, Belmont University professor (Photo: WKRN)

“It won’t be over, this is a new normal,” Dr. Syb Brown, a journalism professor at Belmont University who specializes in social media, told News 2.

With the angst over the election spills over into our personal social media feeds, many social media users feel a wide array of emotions.

“Social media fatigue, social media frustration, social media celebration, you know all of this is happening,” Dr. Brown said. “We live in a democratic society; the vote was made now we have to move forward.”

But she said that doesn’t mean to be silent.

“We move forward by having the conversation and practicing civility. We have to have uncomfortable conversations,” Brown explained.

Brown said she tells her students the key is to take the emotion out of the conversation.

“What I try to teach my students, is to have those conversations with evidence, empirical data, information not emotion,” the professor said.

Student Samantha Denlinger is one of many people who have de-friended or blocked others to get away from the hateful comments this election has fueled.

“I did end up having to delete a few people and family. I did end up having to block just because I didn’t want to surround myself by negativity,” Denlinger explained to News 2.

Samantha Denlinger, Belmont University student (Photo: WKRN)

Less than 24 hours after the election, some may notice their friends and family members are trying to take a break from politics.

“People are asking for prayers, people are talking about puppies, people are calling for unity, because there is a realization that no matter what the election has now been decided and now it’s time to move forward and many people are working towards that end already,” explained Dr. Syb.

She and Denlinger hope the social media conversation shifts to unifying instead of dividing.

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