Sarah Whitten’s article, ‘Can 140 characters affect the 2016 presidential election?’ examines the use of social media by the candidates in the 2016 general election. Social media has become a tool for achieving many ends election campaigns being one of them. Social media enables news to travel fast and also provides instant feedback from critiques and fans. The article targets the common US voter while also addressing election commentators, and the people involved in the campaign, giving them a critical assessment of what social media can or cannot do for their campaign. Whitten effectively uses rhetorical techniques of reason, credibility and techniques to effectively in attempt to paint the picture to the audience, leaving them to make a judgment on the extent of the influence of social media in the campaigns.
Whitten extensively uses logs to bring out the picture as is in the use of social media as a campaign tool. To begin with, Whitens has structured her article in a manner that avoids bias, giving an analysis in a structured manner, based on facts, and touching on candidates fairly without being emotive of expressing personal opinion. The article in analytically descriptive, almost adopting an academic tone by sticking to factual information and desisting from personal positions. Through this, Whitten effectively avoids bias.
Further on the use of logos, Whitten maintains the focus on a logical approach to the topic, by providing expert comments from marketers, analysts and statistical data. She uses the statistics on number of followers and provides a timeline when candidates joined social media. For example, to prove that the length of social media presence does not reflect on the amount of mentions and number of followers, she cites Hillary Clinton who was the last to join social media but ranks second in social media mentions and number of followers(Whitten, n.p). By sticking to available statistics and facts, Whitten expresses authority by demonstrating that the article is well researched and the facts as stated are reliable and helpful for the audience in arriving at their judgment.
In addition to statistics and data, Whitten uses comparisons to give the audience a broader outlook at the situation. She puts the candidates side by side comparing one side to another, throughout the article. This really works well for the article because, since elections are an emotive topic, when addressing an audience that is highly opinionated, it is important to maintain neutrality and offer a fair assessment of the issue. This, Whitten does exceptionally well comparing each of the major candidates and sometimes even giving actual verbatim to maintain the original meaning of the message.
Whitten’s use of language is authoritative, while maintaining a simplicity that appeals to the regular column reader, the opinion shapers and critiques. Her arrangement of the article is topical, covering one aspect of social media use to another, making it easy to follow. Even though she offers expert opinion, the articles maintains a certain level of simplicity while still embracing an academic approach. This makes the article appealing and understandable to many, without losing the goal o educating the audience of the role of social media in campaigns.
Finally, Whitten maintains her ethical credibility by maintaining an objective approach and also quoting credible sources offering an analytical approach. She also maintains this credibility by barking her claims using actual tweets from the candidate. Her approach is very appropriate for the medium used, since this is a news article, a reporter’s duty is to give the audience a view of different positions, offers factual details and give an analytical approach; something that Whitten achieves successfully.
Whiten successfully employs logos, pathos and ethos in a well structured and simple article, revealing to the reader the use o social media in campaigns and whether it will significantly contribute o the outcome of the elections. She effectively keeps the reader engaged and does not openly conclude r offer her verdict, but lets the facts and analytical contributions of the experts to speak for themselves while the reader makes a deduction. This is tactful and effective when addressing a biased audience.
Whitten, Sarah. "Can 140 Characters Affect The 2016 Presidential Election?". CNBC 2015. Web. 4 Feb. 2016.