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: