POLITICS AND SOCIAL MEDIA 4
Politicsand Social Media
Politicsand Social Media
Socialmedia have revolutionized the organization of political movements andcampaigns. Gathering political support and passing of information tothe supporters has become easy. Before the invention of social media,political organizations relied on crude means that were ineffective,tiring, time-consuming and expensive. This piece of work examines thenature of political organizations and how people passed expressingtheir political views before the invention of instant media.
Politicalmethods and campaign strategies have been changed greatly by thesocial media. For example, in the US, the first bigger campaign thatemployed social media in the US was in 2008. President Obama reliedheavily on social media with about 1.5 million tweets being releasedin relation to his campaign. When this trend is compared to trendwith the pre-social media era, there was a big change. PresidentReagan, for example, relied heavily on the foot soldiers to carry hiscampaign agenda to the people. He also relied on the religiousorganizations in reaching the people in places of worship (Jeffers,2013).
Politicalrevolutions have been in constant change over time. Before the fallof the Berlin wall, the Eastern Bloc was very active in the use offax machines. Fax machines were very powerful and reliable means ofsharing political information. Differing political organizations usedradio technologies to pass their messages to the ruling parties. Theusages of cassettes and videotapes were very common. The opponentswere getting smarter every day to find a medium that was beyond thecontrol of the ruling regime (Weinstein, 2014).
Justbefore the discovery of social media, varied forms of electronicmedia were available. Online chats, boards played a crucial role insharing information (Rhodes, 2013). People could access them fromtheir homes and offices and could use mobile phones to shareinformation on streets. People could share the events taking place onthe streets such as demonstrations to the cabinet ministers using thetext messages. There were other independent information outlets suchas television and newspapers. Politicians could drive their politicalideas and events to the people using mass media.
Theroles played by the average campaign supporters were limited beforethe introduction of social media (Rhodes, 2013). It was difficult tohold several campaign meetings and only the very famous and the richpolitical parties and politicians could manage. It requires thewriting of a big check or using the area offices in places where theywere available. The then trend was contrary to the ease brought bythe use of social media where people can participate in campaignsfreely by giving feedback, commenting on political ideas and engagingdirectly with politicians. Politicians could not engage in anexchange of ideas with their supports because communication was onlyone way, and there was no avenue for feedback.
Organizationof groups for political purposes or archiving of some politicalinterests could take the form of print media to pass information. Inthe early 1970s and late 1960s, there was a common phrase that “thepersonal is political.” This slogan was the prevailing proverb ofthe feminist movement (Weinstein, 2014). Decades later, this sloganhas changed from being personal to political. The information waspassed using memos and printed notes. It took a decade to achieve theinterests of the group.
Inconclusion, the organization of political movements and politicalrallies before the social media era was lengthy but the situation haschanged. Communication relied on ineffective means like print mediaand less efficient electronic media like fax. The public were lockedout of participation in campaign matters. It was difficult for votersto express their opinions.
Jeffers,D. (January 18, 2013). Jeffers, D. (January 18, 2013). How SocialMedia has Changed Politics: It’s Not Just Tactics. TheSocial Media Monthly. Availableat:<http://thesocialmediamonthly.com/how-social-media-has-changed-politics-its-not-just-tactics/>.
Rhodes,J. (2013). NationalAgenda 2014.Newark: University of Delaware.
Weinstein,C. E. (2014). The Personal Is Political on Social Media: Online CivicExpression Patterns and Pathways Among Civically Engaged Youth.InternationalJournal of Communication, 8(2014), 210–233.