Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter in just the last decade have made huge changes to the way that election campaigns are run and the way people interact with elected officials. At the same time, the rise of social media being used for politics has caused candidates and elected officials to be more accessible and held more accountable for their actions. Here are some of the ways that social media has changed politics around the world.
Cuts the Cost of Advertising
One of the major changes that social media has had on politics is cutting the cost of advertising. While the commercials still need to be produced, they can be uploaded to Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for free.
In the past, ads and campaigns had to be shared on TV or by newspapers. Social media has made it simple to share information with the ‘Share’ function and the ‘Retweet’. This sharing means that more people know what is going on with politics around the world, with more voters being reached. The value of going viral was clearly seen in the 2016 USA election, where Donald Trump used Twitter and posted tweets that were shared thousands to millions of times.
However, social media also has a down side to having direct access. Controversy in politics has become a popular subject. Since information so easy to be shared, it is easy for fake news stories to be spread. At the same time, real news can either be hidden or pushed to the forefront. Anthony Weiner is a great example of social media controversy damaging a politician’s image.
Direct Commutation with Voters
We have seen many politicians use various social media platforms to speak with potential voters. Since social media is free, this means that politicians do not need to spend any money to do this. There is paid advertising that can be used to raise the amount of people who see the post, but for most politicians, this is not needed since their followers will share the information to the people who are following them.
The Young Voters
One of the reasons that we are seeing social media being used more is because of the younger voters. We have seen the power of the young voter, as President Obama used social media during both of his successful campaigns, and was the first politician to use social media in their campaign.
With more people using social media, and the youth vote becoming more important, we are bound to see more candidates using social media. Social media is a very interesting platform, as it is still a young form of media that has seen major changes in just the past 5 years.