Navigating Election Night on Pluto, Facebook, Twitter and Elsewhere

By #AndradeSays Archives
Cover image for  article: Navigating Election Night on Pluto, Facebook, Twitter and Elsewhere

Think about this. Last night, at like two in the morning, President Trump addressed the country and straight up said he had "already won." He literally expressed an interest in no longer counting ballots in states where it already looks like he’s won, and extending the time needed to count in states where he doesn’t seem as lucky. Obviously, none of that makes sense, but, to the uninformed, or the undereducated (as far as this stuff goes), those wildly inaccurate and frankly out-of-pocket statements may have actually seemed to hold weight. Thankfully, I was literally surrounded by a constant onslaught of accurate and (mostly) unbiased information (that directly disputed his claims, by the way) at the time, coming at me from multiple platforms.

In a world where our access to many things has been so restricted because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the dissent constantly sown among us by you-know-who, it’s good to know that the flipside is modern technology, and some forward thinking in terms of the dissemination of said information can go a long way. I'm the proof.

Nothing pumps the way it used to, which means we all have to work harder at staying on top of things. There is no excuse to not do so. Be wise but be wary. In the run-up to last night it seemed that our options would be either to be out dodging police batons at fiery protests or to remain safely at home watching live election coverage like it's the running of a favorite horse at the track.

The 2020 presidential election (my fourth) is not only a huge deal for our country in the same way that it always has been, but it's also one of the most pivotal and divisive elections that we as a people have had to face (at least in my memory). Like many people in my age bracket (let's say "around 30" and under) I may not watch TV in the traditional sense, but that doesn’t mean I don’t watch live TV at all. YouTube TV is a great service that allows me to view a slew of services streaming live 24/7, and among them are CBS News, ABC News, NBC News and Fox News. In that sense, staying on top of things is a pretty standard experience. Pick one and you’ll get a steady stream of correspondents, graphs and political maps of the United States while analysts break down exactly who does what and why. Other services, like Google TV and Hulu+ Live TV, also have those news services/networks. I’ve noticed that free live streaming services have a more limited selection, like how ViacomCBS' Pluto TV only uses CBS for its local news coverage ('natch).

On my laptop, Twitter and Facebook last night were the move. (I'll have to follow the news on them more often.) Both have pages dedicated to election coverage, and each of those pages has a list of networks with live online coverage and regularly updated infographics. Interestingly, Facebook’s mobile version of its site and subsequently its election coverage page(s) were easy to navigate and very clearly labeled. But the desktop version of Facebook didn’t have a clear path to said election page(s), nor did it specify or designate any specific space for news streaming channels that were covering the big event. Rather, ABC News, CBS News, and a couple of Fox news stations just kinda floated around in the "Popular Live Videos" section.

The real differences came down to each individual channel. CBS News, for example, was showing the same feed that was on TV right there on Facebook as well. (As noted, that feed was also shared a third time on Pluto.) A click on the USA Today video feed, though, delivered a more comprehensive set of data graphics, like a state-by-state results map, a presidential results map, and even county-by-county results maps.

On Twitter, there was a little more in the way of text around the videos and what not. Twitter broke it all down in a clear, concise way with clearly labeled headlines like "Presidential Race Is Undecided as Ballot Counting Continues Across the U.S., according to AP, ABC and NBC." It also promised to stay up to date on multiple pieces of crucial information, like the latest state projections, updates from the Trump and Biden campaigns, updates from state officials on voting and potential delays in results, and fact-checks provided by journalists and experts.

Look, before 2016 I truly never cared about or for politics. Unfortunately, besides the aftermath of that election, getting older in this country has taught me that if I care about the kind of world I live in, or the kind of world that my children will live in, then I have to be paying more attention. Whether I like it or not, I need to take in all this information all the time, and there is no excuse for anyone to be ill-informed.

In fact, it's kind of amazing that so much is available to us in so many ways. It's even more amazing that so many of us haven't taken full advantage of everything that's offered.

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