Social media changed the world in multiple ways forever and one of the biggest impacts social media has had is in politics. Social media has lots of positive impacts on politics, but also some very negative consequences. As more people join social media and more news is distributed on it, the more complicated the relationship between politics and social media becomes.
One election that really showed this is the 2008 election where former President Obama began using YouTube, Twitter and websites to gain traction. Social media gave a new outlet to advertising directly to the people with their own social media accounts. Social media also led to a way for politicians to be more transparent with the public. With smartphones, any person can now take a picture of a politician doing anything and post it. Everyone is now a reporter; whether the information is true or false. This often leads to the idea of “fake news” which makes everyone’s life harder and more complicated. People get confused if media is true or false and who to trust; especially online.
In this new age of social media and politics merging, it is important for an individual to be accountable for one’s media intake online; especially if it is someone’s opinion on their social media.
Politics and social media brought on a huge negative scandal called Cambridge Analytica, which is a complicated story that starts with the English company, Cambridge Analytica, and how they interwove with issues of fake profiles and fake news. This arguably helped sway the 2016 election in the United States and elections prior to that. This whole debacle is still being investigated. This brings social media and politics to more than just fake news but also fake profiles and the mixing of different nations politics.
Not all social media is bad for politics. Politicians can now directly talk to citizens through their own accounts if they run their personal accounts. Also, there is more access to information for people all over to cast their vote. Social media can be very negative for politics, and people are still figuring out the power of social media, but it is undoubtably informative. Educate yourself on social media; especially when it comes to politics.
Lauren Sheil is a sophomore journalism- strategic communication major and member of the Scripps PRSSA Publicity Committee. You can connect with her on Twitter @laurensheil101