Social media in turmoil: Feelings of panic, doubt and doom as US elections inch to finishing line

People watch voting results flowing in at Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's election night event at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Nov 8, 2016, in New York City. PHOTO: AFP

Emotions are running high on social media as the final hours of the US presidential election turn into a nerve-racking face-off between Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Speaking to the nervousness that has permeated the world as it watches election results roll in, comedian Adam Kay wrote on Twitter: "If you wondered about the opposite of Netflix and Chill, it's CNN AND PANIC."

The left-leaning The Daily Show's Trevor Noah hinted at the general mood of fear and anxiety in an advertisement showing him holding a folder labelled "'WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE' Jokes" as one outcome of the election.

With Ohio one of the first swing states to have a conclusive result - in favour of Mr Trump - the Trump camp reacted with strong feeling.

"THANK YOU OHIO!!!" Mr Trump's social media campaign director Dan Scavino Jr declared on Twitter - in all-caps and three exclamation marks.

Political pundits, many of whom had gone into election night confident of Mrs Clinton's three-point lead, are turning to self-doubt as they ask themselves how their models missed Mr Trump's surge in the polls.

CNBC analyst John Harwood wrote on Twitter: "Trump's over-performance is stunning and calls a lot about polling and likely-voter models into question."

At liberal think-tank Media Matters For America, commentator Craig Harrington tweeted: "The first people to lose their jobs in the Trump recession: consultants, political commentators, pollsters."

Republican strategist Mike Murphy echoed the sentiment, saying: "I've believed in data for 30 years in politics and data died tonight."

Others are taking the heightened possibility of a Trump victory as a sign of an impending apocalypse.

The official account for Netflix series Black Mirror, which is about a dystopia fuelled by contemporary social media and technology, pointed to the blurred line between perception and actual fact that has haunted the election season.

"This isn't an episode. This isn't marketing," the showrunners tweeted. "This is reality."

Even though it seems like neither camp can fully believe it.

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