Essay Sample on Social Media and Politics

Published: 2021-08-17 15:50:32
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The connections between different social media and news related to politics have been of great concern in most countries around the world. The social media has played a key role in changing the political landscape over the last few decades. Social media is now considered as an integral part of the political parties in carrying out their campaign activities and also in displaying how people think concerning some issues raised. This is because most candidates and their supporters nowadays update their opinions on Facebook and also on Twitter ("Artists and Social Media in Politics", n.d.).

Most of the parties have created their own social media pages that they use to facilitate their spreading of propaganda and also requesting donations from the general public. One of the manners in which social media has transformed politics is through the speed at which fake news and poll results are shared for example during those days when internet was not available, most people had to be patient and wait until the news was broadcasted on live televisions contrary to this day where online news is always at their disposal (Piolatto & Schuett, 2014).

Political polls have very intense weight when it comes to campaigns. This is because the projected poll results have a greater influence when it comes to elections. The political polls are always very confusing because one can find multiple polls with results that contradict each other posted every day. The internet has tremendously increased the number of poll results that can be seen on a daily basis. This poll results can have a greater influence on elections because they are self-fulfilling prophecy even if they are full of flaws. Considering that one candidate is ahead of the poll results some people might feel that there is no need of voting for an underdog this creates a separated country because people tend to be more divided based on ethnicity lines as other people tend to support one of their own.

The social media is supposed to connect people from various backgrounds, but instead, it leaves us more isolated. Social media has impacted negatively on the politics of many countries because nowadays political campaigns are to a greater extent influenced by every story on the social media whether true or false that is spread. This makes it quite difficult for individuals to be able to differentiate between the actual and the fake news broadcasted. The consistent streaming of memes, links, and rumors about those political class of people and the candidates become a mixture of the truth, falsehood, and speculations.

There are few fake sites that often post stories that sound authentic; they simply exist to post clickbait stories to readers who rarely do research about those stories. There are also many other sites that peddle political biases and unsustainable conspiracy stories. This makes one more easily to be misinformed by friends and followers even if they never intended to do so. Therefore there is need to use a great deal of discernment before believing anything. Facebook has risen to be a major platform where average individuals obtain their news this is because of its wide coverage around the world. Facebook has turned out to be so pertinent to individuals views of news and the media in itself, and they are influenced indirectly by the shared news. Individuals can be able to follow some news outlets on Facebook; this phenomenon may look like it is not harmless or positive. However, the quick spread of information and freedom on social media comes with immense concerns. This is because there is no required threshold to be meet for news to be unbiased or even accurate before being spread. Most of these sources are completely inaccurate in their reporting to being heavily biased ("Deception in Political Social Media", n.d.).

The fake news issue has led to spread of misinformation thus contributing to deepening of the partisan divide and hence making it difficult for us to solve issues, or even debate them in an effective manner which is a huge detriment to progressing both socially and politically. Based on studies conducted in 2012 by Schneider et al. negative coverage of the government contributes to a massive increase in people reporting about the lack of trust in government at the place (Piolatto & Schuett, 2014). This in itself has major consequences such a lower turnout of voters due to their cynical attitude towards the government. This is a major concern when people lose trust with the government; this has encouraged the supporters of current governments to seek out alternative sources where they can obtain their information hence worsening the situation because citizens cannot be able to agree on whats true and whats false. Historical, political divisions have always been there; however, issues always revolved around differences in perspectives on how governments should handle problems present in the country, nowadays social media has made it even hard for the people to agree on the reality of the problems themselves. This alone creates a division thats is almost impossible to cross ("Artists and Social Media in Politics", n.d.).

Social media is operated by forces that are hidden such as confirmation bias. This takes center stage when it comes to extremely controversial topics like politics. Majority of the tweets, pins on pin interest and Facebook posts are just examples that tend to express opinions that some people already hold in mind; therefore its natural to find people of the same mindset trying to surround themselves with people of like mind. According to research conducted by Pew Research Centre around 66 percent of Facebook users were connected to individuals that they know in person while on Twitter users skewed in other directions where 15 percent were found to follow people they knew in person with more than half following people they didnt know, this depicted the fact that the individuals tend to follow those bearing similar opinions or who are interesting to them. This tendency makes people tend to avoid those people bearing strong differences of opinions. This sense of cohesion is the basis of communities. When it comes to social media, this tends to create the impression that everybody else thinks similarly. For example, if 90 percent of individuals friends on Facebook tend to agree on most political issues, the information obtained is likely to be filtered on the biased basis. People will tend to post links to stories that confirm your existing bias. Based on the above reason its, therefore, more difficult for individuals to accept alternative points of view, this makes it hard for people to be less tolerant of others and more opinionated (Tsikerdekis & Zeadally, 2014).

Journalists usually wield out a lot of power when it comes to a political process; this is because voters need fast hand information to make educated decisions and mostly the journalists are the ones who take up the job. The political decisions can be biased through media coverage; this changes how the press interacts with the candidate, campaigns and how the voting public also interacts. The way journalist gets involved in elections is by choosing whether to cover an individual or not. This is also dependent on how much time that an individual is covered, these choices have a huge impact on the perception of voters. The biggest thing that usually drives elections is the simple recognition of a name ("Deception in Political Social Media", n.d.).

Social media also influence the politics of a nation and instigates differences depending on the scripts that are written whether they are biased. Research conducted reveals that most social media outlets attract partisan audiences which reflected their political biases in their coverage. This phenomenon is motivated by business since most consumers today can get basic facts by searching the internet. Selectiveness in exposure is the tendency in which many of us try to find out our own new sources that dont fundamentally change what people believe in the world. Social media tend to perpetuate character-based scripts. According to recent studies that were conducted by the Pew Research Center, 62 percent of people use social media platforms to acquire news, but they might not know that the news at their exposure is heavily filtered. In most cases what people see on Facebook is purely based on what they like and dislike, rather than people getting the perspective that contributes to political discourse. Social media facilitates negative dispositions towards politics (Tsikerdekis & Zeadally, 2014). Among the young adults, the use of the internet for political reasons has become important over election cycles. Traditional sources of information have become regular repertoire of political information. During election periods many people increasingly access social media sites in order to obtain information on candidates and the campaign, exchanging and posting political messages and getting involved in the campaigns. From studies conducted, researchers found out that different online social Medias have different relations to their users outcomes at behavioral levels. Social media has been championed as the key location for obtaining political information because it allows the users to obtain updated information about their preferred candidates. Recent studies have questioned the participation of social media in enhancing democracy. Social media has not encouraged the investment of every, social media but cultivated social fragmentation, whereby users visit sites to assemble content that is backings their perspectives and participate in divided articulation with similarly minded individuals. A picture is always worth a thousand words, this insinuates the fact that visuals carry out more and even powerful impacts when it comes to politics (Tsikerdekis & Zeadally, 2014).

Research carried out on visual communication has shown that images, especially of candidates, convey their emotions, actions, and realism because it forms a long lasting impression in the mind of the voting individuals. The photos that the organizations that spread the news decide to post and factors such as their size and layout influences the perception of voters to a greater extent and this may reveal possible biases. The published images become part of the permanent record that is to be preserved on the internet. What is important now from politicians its not so much about image as personality. It is only a particular kind of personality that gets to work one thats big enough to grasp the attention of the perpetually distracted but small enough to be able to fit in a thousand tiny media containers (Tsikerdekis & Zeadally, 2014).

Social media in most cases favors the bitty over the meaty, it is known to prize emotionalism over reason. The more negative or visceral a message is perceived to be the more quickly it is circulated, and hence the longer it is held on the darting public eye. Social media has therefore been as disruptive in politics as in every other sphere of life, as it provides us with insights into the thinking of the world's politicians in ways that were never before possible.

References

Artists and Social Media in Politics. Encyclopedia Of Social Media And Politics. http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781452244723.n27

Constituencies, Social Media Influence on. Encyclopedia Of Social Media And Politics. http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781452244723.n119

Tsikerdekis, M., & Zeadally, S. (2014). Online deception in social media. Communications Of The ACM, 57(9), 72-80. http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2629612

Piolatto, A., & Schuett, F. (2014). Media Competition and Electoral Politics. SSRN Electronic Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2413944

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