From Donald Trump putting upon his views on Twitter, all the way to algorithms affecting what stories certain people see, the role of social media post schedule’s impact is substantial and influential.
With technology shaping every aspect of our lives, it is only natural that it has started shaping the politics of our countries too.
In 2015 after the announcement of candidates; elections were the most talked about subject on Facebook in the U.S.
The internet’s reaction to the 2016 U.S. presidential election has been like no other, with the public creating entertaining content daily.
Reliance on social media for political news has increased rapidly.
In 2012, about two in five Americans reported using social media for political purposes, and about one in three said they had encountered messages on social media promoting one of the candidates in the months leading up to the election but what they may not realize is that the news they get is heavily filtered.
Even more concerning, there is growing evidence that many of the falsehoods circulating during the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election were part of a Russian propaganda effort.
The idea that a foreign power would use social media in an attempt to sow disinformation intended to sway an election is deeply troubling.
The role of social media during election campaigns has both pros and cons.
But the reality of the present day is that it may help in fostering misconceptions in the minds of voters and can be effectively manipulated to spread one’s propaganda is what makes it dangerous.
Impact of Social Media Polls
Political polls are an essential part of every campaign. They are often confusing because you can often find many polls with contradictory results posted on the very same day.
Political Polls widely influence voter perceptions, even if they are flawed.
When people are posting the latest poll results on social media throughout the day, there’s a great deal of pressure on candidates to pull ahead of their opponents.
A photograph is worth a thousand words and images of political candidates, especially conveys emotions, actions, realism, and credibility.
However, photos that ridicule the opponents are also widely used by political candidates to influence the voters and more often these pictures convey a wrong image of the candidates.
Google Bombs and Twitter Bombs
The terms Google bombing and Googlewashing refer to the practice of causing a website to rank highly in search engine results for irrelevant, unrelated, or off-topic search terms by linking unnecessarily.
Twitter bombs were also widely used during the 2016 presidential elections. These twitter bombs used bots to send unsolicited replies to specific users via twitter to get them to pay attention to one’s cause.
Nodes typically are networks that we are already familiar with.
These can be people, institutions, and ideas.
What propagandists try to do is that they create connections in these trust networks and hence tries to influence the public’s perception about the candidates for upcoming elections, thus help us decide on candidates of their choice.
Candidates of all political parties are nowadays trying to use social media for their advantage.
There is a positive aspect to it like faster and direct communication, fundraising, etc., but in light of these, the negative aspects cannot be ignored.
An effort should be made to reduce the spread of falsehood through role of social media so that voters cannot be easily manipulated.
Social media is both a tool of oppression and empowerment, and it is upon the public, the media houses, the companies, the candidates, and the government to use it wisely.
Please add comments below to express your views about the role of Social Media for election campaigns.