How Social Media is Reshaping Politics

A number of disconcerting patterns have been highlighted by recent political conventions. Voter manipulation, duplicate votes, campaign fraud, etc. How can social media-based technologies solve these challenges? Given that social media dominate at linking people with the representatives of society, there is no denying that social media will play a key role in the future of the world. Leaders believe that social media outlets would bring about a more realistic and inclusive government-wide discourse that could contribute to more effective mobilization of people. Social media could be the key to making the world a better place.

Social Media — An Attention Economy

The Internet has developed communication channels that play a significant role in the circulation of news, and social media platforms have the ability to transform not only the message, but the dimensions of systemic corruption, ideals, and conflict dynamics of politics. Diplomacy across the globe is becoming less private and more responsive to public opinion with the use of social media in election systems, global war, and radical politics. Social networking, in particular news shared via social media networks, is part of the concept of the attention economy. A material that receives more interest can be viewed, circulated and propagated much more than news content that gathers as much momentum from the public. Younger generations are getting more interested in politics as election coverage spreads through all social media platforms. Due to the greater use of social networking sites by young adults, they are more likely to be introduced to politics in a manner that is blended into their internet social lives.

Citizen Awareness through Social Media

Early forecasts about the impact of the Internet on political literacy projected that awareness would increase. Since the Internet offered more content from multiple locations at an affordable price, it would inevitably increase the extent of citizen awareness. In reality, for many people, this has proved to be true. Those who are involved in politics become more educated and exhibit increased degree of political literacy as choices grow. However, the widening of options offered by several cable and Internet providers also increases the number of outlets offering entertainment content. The consequence in all this affects those who are uninvolved in politics. The extension of options reduces the chance of encountering political facts and being more aware. Social media, however, can provide implicit exposure to political knowledge even for those not involved in politics. Applicants and government parties use social media sites to exchange content.

Social Media: A Direct Link to the Public

According to a recent report by the Pew Research Center, 62% of American citizens receive news from social media networks. What they do not know is what they see is extensively manipulated. Researchers conclude that what we can see on Facebook is determined by algorithms that determine what we see depending on what we like and don’t like, what we click on or comment on. Instead of a plurality of views that contributes to political debate, we have an echo chamber. Social networking, however, offers people more intimate exposure to candidates like never before. On social networking sites, voters feel that they have a personal connection with a candidate whom they would actually never encounter in person. And the candidates have unparalleled influence on the pictures they are presenting. Social networking enables politicians to engage directly with the voting people, while bypassing the mainstream media as a gatekeeper.

Share Guidelines with First-Time Voters

A study conducted by a digital marketing firm reported that almost one-third of the first-time voters were affected by political posts on social media sites during the recent general elections. Almost half of the 15-crore first-time voters got political statements via different social media sites. The very essence of social media has helped to enhance communication through tweets, public conversations, bots, messages, photos showing solidarity. Political parties have used large-scale data mining tools to increase mass mobilisation and communicate their primary messages to the general election. An analyst said that social networking has been the most significant source of information for political events, surpassing all media.

Fact-checking with Data Journalism

Once perceived to be the least desirable aspect of the journalist’s work, fact-checking has come into the picture with the aid of digital technologies that allow verification quicker and more reliably. While the fact-checkers centre attention on the candidates’ positions on the topics, the methods of data analysis will sustain the media’s heavy attention on the horse race. One of the most noticeable advances in the field of data journalism is the tools to make forecasts about the elections. Many of the numbers crunched comes from creating polls on one of the most popular topics of political coverage.

What is the Flipside of Social Media?

Social media has its share of controversies that may have an effect on the same cause it promotes. Firstly, it has accounted for the largest share of political decisions that has generated outcomes in terms of rapid distribution and the hunt for immediate reactions to any social cause. This means that long when a topic appears in its entirety, it is subject to popular opinion. Secondly, several development campaigns focus solely on social media. There may be rational explanations for this, but the technique appears to have a dominant focus on those sections of the community that use it. The challenge is that social networking has been a polarising force by nature, even when most conversations are not well-informed. This has become a convenient place to cast away political prejudices and park views without restriction. Consequently, any cause circulated on social media automatically polarises the debate. This is especially true in advertisements with political overtones.

Social Media — A Hub of Disinformation

New and more sophisticated forms of propaganda and disinformation will continue to be enabled by social media. Artificial intelligence would allow for the production of deep fake videos that will deceive the average person. In their never-ending search for money, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter will continue to allow this content. Politicians will make noises about legislation, but since these sites will become their main source of advertisement and attention, they will never agree to abolish the Safe rules that protect online platforms.

Examples of How Social Media is Transforming Politics

Clicktivism

Change.org seeks to solve microcosmic obstacles. The organization allows residents to make online petitions. Displaying a growing interest in political advocacy, also called “clicktivism,” Change.org has registered up to 17 million supporters and adds 2–3 million clicktivists per month.

Civic Engagement

POPVOX automates the mechanism of coordination between constituents and their elected leaders. The online website makes it easier for people to track the draught law and show approval or criticism, which is then delivered with a personalised message to the officials concerned

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