Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) became the first Republican to formally announce his candidacy for the 2016 Presidential race. In the course of doing, he spawned not one, but two social media problems for his campaign.
First, there was the trending topic #TedCruzCampaignSlogans. This became a top trending topic on Twitter, and most (although not all) of the tweet’s on the trend were mocking Cruz in some way. Among the highlights:
This, of course, turned into multiple news stories, and certainly not the kind that Senator Cruz was working for that day.
Was there a way around this? Sort of: Cruz should have had an official hashtag for the announcement event. Would it have stopped opponents from using the hashtag? Of course not – in fact, it would have been expected for Democrats, liberals, and potential opponents to buy ad space for the tag (unless Cruz got their first) and generally try to crash it. That’s fine and to be expected. But, it would have channeled the opposition to a set hashtag – and possibly prevented news stories about Twitter trolls.
Next was Yik Yak. Yik Yak is one of a series of social media platforms that allows users to make anonymous comments. The app then groups these comments based on location. Liberty University students were required to attend the Cruz announcement, because, in the words of Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, “It is no secret that Convocation is held three times a week and attendance is required, just like class is required for students. No one is expected to agree with every speaker on every point.”
And, as the Yik Yak comments indicated, not every student was happy about being made to attend:
Was there anyway to stop the Yik Yak comments? No. It’s comes with the territory of making college students do something they may not want to. This wasn’t a social media problem, it was a structural one. By the way, this also caused news stories.
So, in terms of social media, a rough start for the Cruz campaign.