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A prospective voter views Mark Ronchetti's Twitter profile while reviewing a sample ballot.

Students weigh in on social media’s impact on midterm elections

Social media became a point of high contention during the recent election, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Daily Lobo talked to three students at the University of New Mexico and they all agreed that while not personally influencing their vote, it did impact the election, mainly leading to a disinterest in politics and a negative impact on their mental health.

Brandon Montoya said social media did not influence his vote because of his preexisting knowledge of politics, but he did believe it could have influenced people who were undecided or less informed.

Younger generations are more aware of what role social media has played in past elections and how it can spread misinformation, according to Forbes. Memes also played a role in the election this year as memes against Mark Ronchetti could have harmed the Republican candidate’s campaign, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Kayla Bottinelli said that she was concerned about how social media negatively impacts mental health with how much influence it has on news and politics. Ultimately, she said that social media did not influence her vote because of what she already felt was at stake in the election.

“I deleted social media for mental health purposes so it did not influence my vote, but I think social media influences the news itself at this point,” Bottinelli said.

Both Montoya and Sharlene Landeros said that the majority of political content they have seen has been found on Instagram.

Landeros said that the way social media has portrayed politics has caused a desensitization to the harsh language used within campaign ads.

“It was a turn off to see the brutalness used by politicians in their ads because it caused more stress than motivation,” Landeros said.

All three expressed that they were turned off by the intense political messaging on social media, and they wished they had known more about the candidates in the election overall.

“Social media has polarized people a lot, so does the news; it allows people to find echo chambers that radicalize both ways,” Bottinelli said.

Cyrrene Giaccardo is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @dailylobo

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