The annual Miss USA pageant was held last night and the newly crowned winner will represent the United States of America in the upcoming Miss Universe pageant.
As with most large media events, social media has played a major role in connecting viewers with the contestants and the many social issues presented during the live show.
Social media users heavily favorited Barber, a U.S. Army Logistics Commander for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit, as was evident through thousands of tweets expressing how impressed and awed they were by this incredible officer using the hashtag #missusa.
This year’s Miss USA pageant relied heavily on social media kicking off with an online campaign to find the 52nd contestant for this year’s competition.
Candidates were asked to post three videos on Instagram and Twitter explaining why they would be a worthwhile candidate and had to use the hashtag #FindingMiss52. Once the top 10 were chosen online, fans had the opportunity to vote for their favorites through twitter and have a hand in the selection process.
The hashtag, #FindingMiss52 reached over 17,000 social media users and generated a significant amount of buzz for the live telecast. Once the show began, social engagement was encouraged through interaction between contestants, judges, and audience members.
Viewers had the opportunity to ask questions, vote, and participate in conversations through social media channels. Twitter and Facebook were the most utilized networks, and accounted for the bulk of the over 5.3 million users reached via social media. The #MissUSA hashtag alone on Twitter generated an average of 10 posts per minute. At the end of the night, Deshauna Barber’s instagram video post #lifeisbutadream had already reached over 105,000 views and counting.
This year’s Miss USA pageant was not immune to it’s own social media drama. During the interview portion of the evening a question posed to Miss Hawaii, Chelsea Hardin received tremendous backlash on social media. When asked about her personal views and voting decisions for the 2016 presidential election. She was asked “With Hillary Clinton expected to surpass the delegate count needed to win the Democratic party nomination, my question to you is: If the election were held tomorrow, would you vote Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump for president, and why would you chose one over the other?” and although she eventually answered “It doesn’t matter what gender. What we need in the United States is someone who represents those of us who don’t feel like we have a voice, those of us who want our voices heard. We need a president to push for what is right, and push for what America really needs,” social media users heavily criticized the question and how it was uncalled for.
This pageant is just another example of how social media has become an outlet for viewers and users to engage with social issues and events that normally have just existed through traditional media.