The political landscape has changed quite a bit in the last couple of decades. The major contributor on this transformation is the internet. Social media, in particular, is now a serious factor in political campaigns and in the way people think or should view a certain issue.
One example of how social media affects politics is that during the campaign period, candidates and their supporters constantly post their views on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Each party has its own pages, from which it broadcasts propaganda and requests for donations. With that being said, let us take a look at some ways on how social media affects the decision making of voters and other citizens.
News Around the Clock
One of the popular ways that social media has transformed politics is the great speed at which news, poll results and rumors are easily disseminated on the internet. Whereas during the days where there was no internet or any mobile devices, people had to wait for the next newspaper or TV news show to get the latest information, online news is a 24/7 phenomenon.
Social media has taken this a step further. While you can access news on many websites at any hour, most people spend more time on sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter than they do on serious news or political websites. This means that you get all of the latest trending news stories and opinions shared by your friends whenever you log on. For example, when you are on Instagram looking at other people’s stories or while using private instagram viewer, you will probably see advertisements of political candidate where it might change your decision on who to vote.
Speaking of advertisements, targeting is used throughout the advertising and marketing industry to make sure that ads and messages reach the correct target audience. Politicians do this as well. In the age of social media, politicians and people running for office are able to target their campaigns.
If a candidate wants to address solutions regarding inequality among men and women, college students, retired people, Latinos or any other group of voters, they can now manipulate even their messages. Just as advertisers on Facebook are able to use analytics and targeted advertising, so can candidates and politicians. Thus, if you notice that political messages seem to be talking to you personally, this is no accident.