Essay on How Social Media Influences Politics

Paper Type: 
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1882 Words
Date:  2021-05-25

According to Mayfield (2008), social media refers to a collection of communication channels across the web, which are dedicated to interaction through content sharing and collaboration within a given community. Prominent examples of social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, and Instagram. Today, social media influences many aspects of how people interact and share information, impacting many decisions individuals undertake in a community. With the concluded Presidential elections in the U.S., it is safe to conclude that social medias influence in politics is great. In the paper, the impact of social media on politic is examined. In the discussion that follows the paper; the relevant material is cited to give credibility to the arguments raised.

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Social media can be traced back to the late 1990s and early 2000s, with sites such as six degrees. At the time, users created profiles and then sent friend requests to others. However, with recent improvements in technology, users now have more capabilities. Information shared between users on social media is no longer limited to texting. Videos, photos, and other media types can now be shared between users of a particular site. Although blogging contradicts the traditional aspects of social media, blogs are now classified as social media as they enable communication between different individuals in the community. Today, different members of society command a huge following. Often the following translates to fame, making information from such individuals important as it is followed by very many people. In an attempt to emulate celebrities, politicians have taken the same approach. With these, politicians can now communicate their policies to even more people than they could do a while back.

Recent developments in social media as a tool for information and political exchange makes it an influential tool when trying to find an audience to influence a particular campaign. In recent times, Twitter has evolved into an ideal avenue where politicians inform the masses about their political ideas and activities. Tweet posts enable users to share their views with friends and colleagues. In the case of a politician, Twitter presents an avenue through which they can interact with potential voters. The voters, on the other hand, are presented with an avenue in which they can interact and share their views on the issues the politician intends to address. By using social media as a communication tool, both voters and politicians can now communicate to each other. With the role currently played by social media, politicians are no longer responsible for their posts, but for what they post.

The study of how social media influences different aspect of politics has taken a central role in the many studies. Twitter plays a large part in the studies. In recent times, famous world leaders have utilized Twitter as a means of communication. For transparency and outreach, the U.S. President, Barrack Obama, the former United Kingdoms Prime Minister, David Cameroon, and his Israel Benjamin Netanyahu counterpart have utilized the power of Twitter. However, often these powerful men have been critiqued on their use of social media. Their use of such sites has always been limited by their status in society, limiting the extent by which they can employ the use of social media.

As asserted by Shirky (2011), during campaign periods, social media has been utilized as an avenue to solicit voters. However, over time, the use of social media has evolved, becoming useful in other avenues. Today, the influence of social media on political outcomes can be viewed in light of the controversy, an avenue for free advertisement, a source of public opinion, and a means to get feedback on a particular issue. With this in mind, numerous politicians have harnessed the power of social media to influence the outcomes of different decisions.

The recent elections in the United States went against popular belief and expected outcomes. As a result, most people have termed it as a circus. The controversy surrounding the election in the United States has been attributed to social media. In recent times, the elections in the United States have been influenced by social media. In 2008, an election that saw the election of Obama into office saw the utilization of Facebook as a campaign tool. The election in 2016 saw the most use of social media as a campaign tool. During the campaign, contestants utilized different social media sites to initiate a debate about different issues. For instance, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush utilized Twitter to spark discussion on student debts; Marco Rubio, on the other hand, utilized Snapchat as an avenue to elicit discussion on the issues concerning the public. Even the old Bernie Senders attracted close to two million likes on social media. Donald Trump, on the other hand, may have used social media better than any of his compatriots. By issuing inflammatory statements, the now President-Elect made sure that the number of follows on his social media accounts were in constant supply. The move proves to have been successfully attributed to the fact that he finally won the election.

Since the popularization of social media, online fights between different individuals, arising from insignificant issues have grown out of proportion. For example, celebrity wars stirred on social media sites go for an even month without being solved; attributed to the popularity this wars stir for the artists. The popularity then translates to sales in albums and a rise in viewership. Politicians are recently employing the same tactic. For example, while campaigning for the presidency in the U.S, Donald Trump often took to Twitter to air his frustrations. More often, he used Twitter to attack Hillary Clinton. As a result, the posts by Donald Trump often resulted in controversial arguments. The arguments raised worked to popularize his campaign agenda, and now Trump is president.

Different aspects contribute to the controversies raised online. The comments people post online are usually unfiltered; some are slanderous while others are baseless claims without proof. Secondly, controversy on social media results from its ability to spread around quickly. Compared to television or print media, issues on social media receive attention more quickly. The results are evident in a short time; very many people have access to a story they are not sure is true or false. While the information spreads faster, a social media post with malicious intent is even harder to resolve. Posts on social media stay on the sites for eternity, a post on Twitter from two years or even five years ago, can still be accessed through a quick search on the site; resulting scars from such experiences follows one's reputation forever. The worst is that issues on social media can be constructed or misrepresented to accomplish any intended purpose. For instance, an innocent photo by anyone can be misrepresented to derive any meaning from it.

Even though social media has been used to stir controversy, the opportunities provided by Social media have been used for some good. Today, being a source of information for many people, social media helps politicians weigh public opinions. With Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, and other social media platforms being popular, those interested in gaining insight on what people think about different aspects of leadership conduct surveys on social media. A post by any individual often reflects their feelings towards the issue under scrutiny, and with this views available to the public, anyone can read them. Often, politicians have used social media in an attempt to find feedback on different issues. With elections nearing, politicians often conduct research trying to find out how popular they are. During this time, social media plays an important role. Political leaders ask their constituents to give feedback on their performance. However, often politicians use campaign staff to remove any posts that appear unflattering from their walls, resulting in feedback elicitation initiatives that do not result in successful adventures.

A lot of money is required to run a campaign. Most of the time politicians fall short of funds and have to rely on alternative sources to raise funds to promote their campaigns. Social media site such as Facebook has been used by politicians to urge their supporters to raise funds for them. For instance, in 2008, a libertarian Ron Paul used Money Bombs, raising money to run his campaign efficiently. President Obama in the same year also utilized the use of social media as a way to spread the news on the need for American to make contributions to his campaigns. The initiatives by both Paul and Obama were only possible if they could reach a large number of people (Metzgar & Maruggi, 2009).

In any democracy, the masses have the power to influence different outcomes. Social networks help bring large numbers of people together. In times when government officials have made questionable decisions, the citizens of different countries have used social media as a source of power. With the use of social media, the masses have been able to critique the decisions made by a large number of politicians. The oversight role has seen numerous controversial decisions or stands from prominent individuals overturned for the good of the citizens. The fear that the decisions made by politicians may stir outraged on social media helps keep politicians at bay.

Political campaigns often need to tailor their messages in order to receive more supporters. In this regard, political campaigns often tap into the analytics about people following them on social media. With the group of the audience identified, messages are then customized to maximize the impact the message has on the intended audience. For example, if a campaign is seeking to influence voters aged between thirty and 60, an analysis of their social media activity goes a long way in determining the material influencing their decisions, demonstrating the power of social media.

With recent evolution of social media as a platform for political and informational exchange, it has become a direct contact tool where politicians quickly meet their voters and influence them accordingly. The social media targets many voters has most people are constantly in use of the social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. It is no surprise that these tools form channels of mass communication where politicians can market their policies and strategies to influence voters attitude about themselves, set agendas, and even determine the outcome of their campaigns. Twitter forms an upper hand for this kind of self-promotion, giving those lobbying the ability to instantaneously inform a mass number of people about their political ambitions and setting schedules of their activities readily known in advance by the voters. Twitters short posts, commonly known as tweets are an easy way for users to share updates with friends, colleagues. Politicians, on the other hand, can influence potential voters, inform and engage each other in topics across the board.

In the recent years, several politicians have incorporated social media into their campaigns. Twitter has become the most influential among the other social media tools. More than 580 politicians had opened Twitter accounts by the year 2010 where three-quarters of them opened their accounts in 2009. Social media has gained recent popularity, thus, promoting the relationship between politicians and voters. Politicians are using social media as a tool to disseminate information to the public. By using a social media platform like a Facebook group or Facebook page, politicians can easily connect to their voters...

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Essay on How Social Media Influences Politics. (2021, May 25). Retrieved from https://midtermguru.com/essays/essay-on-how-social-media-influences-politics

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