Social Media Expert Says Election Healing Starts Online

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – If wearing a little, “I Voted” sticker wasn’t enough of a statement to make after casting your ballot, social media has given everyone the chance to act as a pundit about the 2016 election, and a lot of the rhetoric isn’t pretty.

In the last days of the campaign, Trump’s advisers reportedly urged their candidate to stop tweeting. Now one local social media expert said voters eager to get something off their chests might want to use that same sense of restraint.

When you lose it’s customary to congratulate your opponent, and that’s what “Chikie Dee” did on the CBS11 Facebook page after the announcement Donald Trump was elected the 45th president.

“Congratulations America… now you have your racist, sexist, lying, rapist as your President!” Chikie Dee wrote in the comments.

“As a country we need to acknowledge that maybe we do have a problem. Maybe we do need to start compromising more,” Dr. Janet Johnson said.

Dr. Johnson teaches emerging media and communications at UT Dallas and said the divisiveness of this election has never been more apparent than on social media, where both supporters and the candidates themselves have crossed lines.

“Hillary even posted a meme saying, friends don’t let friends vote Trump, and I thought, ‘well that is telling people you can’t believe in something that you might believe in,’ ” Johnson said.

The professor admitted it’s the nature of social media to be provocative and to vent frustrations, but she worries that the hostile tone is spilling over into how we treat each other in person. That’s why she urges everyone to stop lashing out and to make posts more open to listening to each other.

“I don’t know if that’s possible or not yet. It’s just, social media has to grow into that,” Johnson said.

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