Politics 2.0

Just as socialization practices in the world are being changed by technology, so is one aspect of society that affects people just as much– politics. Who gets power in politics is determined by how well he or she can utilize a result of advancing technology that is easily accessible and increasingly used by the public: social media. This complex, yet easy-to-use, entity has given rise to completely new set of political practices known as Politics 2.0.

Social media sites have become extremely influential in the way that people perceive political candidates. Since platforms like Facebook and YouTube give control to the user to create any image he or she would like, candidates can use this to his or her advantage, and get across a message in the strongest, most impactful way possible. Social media not only gives politicians new abilities during political campaigns, but also the citizens who will be most affected by the outcome. Politics are no longer made up of only one-way communication directed by people running for office– the public has just as strong of a voice.

President Obama is known to have utilized Politics 2.0 to his advantage during the 2008 election in many ways, just as we learned in class. First, his campaign had its own social network known as MyBarackObama.com. He used Twitter to stay in touch with voters and respond to their concerns and questions. This established him as a caring, honest candidate, and voters could feel his words and desires for the country were more personal. YouTube allowed Obama to have free advertising– he could post videos and have them remain online for all to see. This showed that he was not afraid to have his ideas preserved online, and citizens could hold him to his word. Lastly, there was Facebook. Barack Obama garnered nearly six million friends on this social networking site and gave voters the opportunity to connect with each other and come together in support of his campaign. All of these ways allowed Obama to quickly share information, give voters the answers they needed, and develop a personal, likable character in voters’ eyes.

The most important advantage that Obama had while using these social media sites to carry out his campaign was access to a significant demographic in the voting world– young people. Campaigning on social media platforms was attractive and accessible to younger generations in the USA, and this proved to be a significant part of Obama’s win against John McCain. When Obama ran for president again in 2012 against Mitt Romney, his understanding and outreach to young voters on social networking sites also proved to be an important factor of his reelection.

Politics 2.0 was most definitely used in the most recent election in the USA, so much that people question if Trump’s social media techniques were what brought him his entry into office. It is important to remember that the social media networks that are used now to share and spread information during political campaigns are still designed to cater to the user. That is, you see what you want to see, and this is something that creates people who believe they are informed to vote when they are in fact the opposite.

For a brief summary of Politics 2.0, view the video below:

Snap It

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Snapchat. The social media site most love to hate and hate to love. This instant form of sharing photos is used more and more frequently as time goes on as the app changes and develops. When Snapchat was first produced in 2011, it was known as the social media platform one could be a part of in order to send a photo that would disappear in seconds and never be seen again. Studies have shown that Snapchat gives people more enjoyable, positive interactions than other social networking sites (1). Despite this fact,  my parents would always ask me, “What is the point of Snapchat if the photo disappears?” as I took an ugly selfie and sent it off to my friends. I would tell them it was just a fun way to send pictures and messages to friends, and that it was not meant for serious photos that I wanted to last. However, this has changed. Even my parents now appreciate the fun, easy communication that Snapchat provides. In a study done on the effects of Snapchat on interpersonal relationships in young adults, researchers discovered that the social media platform allows for “…more congruent communication within young adult interpersonal relationships” (2). Snapchat encourages casual, easy conversations which tend to be a commonly liked communication technique. It also encourages a preservation of the small moments– no photo is too insignificant to post on Snapchat.

Snapchat photos last longer than a “snap” now, making the name slightly not representative of its true characteristics. Snapchat now allows users to take screenshots of the photos that they receive. Users can also make “stories” of their photos which are posted for 24 hours for friends to see. The app even allows users to save “memories” and store the photos they take forever in a camera roll. Snapchat has evolved into a photo log, news source, travel diary, and even more. It gives users the ability to capture the small moments that show true personality, values, and interests, unlike other social media networks in which people often work toward creating an image for themselves.

I highly enjoy Snapchat because of its quick  form of “face-to-face” communication and that it allows me to share where I am with family and friends easily. During my time abroad, I send many snapchats to my friends and family to update them on where I am traveling and what I am doing there. I have saved many of my snapchat photos and stories in order to keep a log of the sights I see during my travels and in Barcelona. Here are some examples of the photos I took on Snapchat that have turned into permanent photos on my phone:

I have saved these photos, along with many others. They provide me with a travel log of the small moments I have abroad– the ones I will most easily forget but will most want to remember.

References:

  1. BAYER, Joseph B., et al. Sharing the small moments: ephemeral social interaction on Snapchat. Information, Communication & Society, 2016, vol. 19, no 7, p. 956-977.
  2. VATERLAUS, J. Mitchell, et al. “Snapchat is more personal”: An exploratory study on Snapchat behaviors and young adult interpersonal relationships. Computers in Human Behavior, 2016, vol. 62, p. 594-601.