2016 Election leads to cutbacks for some social media users
Phil Mangis likely never encountered Pepe the Frog.
The data collector who works Downtown said he avoids social media and has no plans to get on it.
That means he has had little opportunity to discover the popular Internet meme that took a dark turn this election cycle when computer users started dressing the cartoon frog as Donald Trump wearing Nazi memorabilia.
“It’s much safer to stay off it in my opinion,” Mangis, who declined to give his age, said. “There’s too much temptation to do stupid stuff.”
Jasmine Mitts, 21, of Mt. Washington, uses social media all of the time and said she was most bothered by the frog meme this election cycle. She has decreased her time online in recent weeks, she said.
“I’ve cut down on using social media completely,” Mitts said, “because everyone is arguing about everyone’s opinions on the candidates.”
In the decade since Twitter started in 2006, social media has taken hold as a phenomenon during the 2016 Presidential Election.
Nearly a quarter of American adults said they turned to the candidates’ campaign social media posts for news and information about the election, according to the Pew Research Center, a media nonprofit based in Washington. That was more than the percentages who turned to the candidates’ websites (10 percent) or emails (9 percent), the July survey found.
It’s clear that many Americans also use social media to share their thoughts and feelings about the candidates for president. During this raucous election cycle, it has been too much for some people.
“It’s like you can’t run from it,” Tenesha Gillespie, 32, a YWCA customer service from McKees Rocks, said. “It’s on TV. It’s on social media. It’s the highlight topic at work, in bars and it’s like you can’t escape it.”
Mike Williams, 30, an artist who lives in Squirrel Hill, said he has deleted at least 30 Facebook friends because of their constant postings about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
The worst thing Amber Kiger, a restaurant server from Brighton Heights, saw on social media this election cycle was a picture of former President Bill Clinton with the words: “Don’t choose Hillary because I didn’t choose her either.” She said it should be safe to return to social media on Wednesday.
Addison Johnson, 45, of Homewood, said he never let anyone else’s postings bother him anyway.
“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion,” Johnson said, “and living in this country, we have the right to express it on any platform you choose.”
The following students contributed to this story: Andrew Henderson, Tyler Polk, Mike Richter, Eddie Trizzino, Nicholas Vercilla, and Jessica Federkeil, Point Park News Service.