Social Media in Politics
When elections come around, there are a variety of candidates running in for office, however, when it comes to our democracy towards elections, there will be issues that will cause consequences to the elections, one issue that influences the nominees in elections would be the media.
Technology has advanced over the years and people began to depend on it by wanting to be updated on all the issues in the world. Although social media can benefit the politician by promoting their business, it also becomes discriminatory for the other politician running in office when they are not being supported in the same way as the first nominee.
Social media keeps building problems for those trying to be nominated in office because it harms them socially. The internet can ruin someone’s reputation by the commercials presented on TV screens that are being watched by voters. Hence, these complications need to be fixed by limiting the use of social media always being involved in politics and to also keep the elections fair.
This problem can be looked through futuristically, economically, and historically lens, but, the main focus on social media affecting politics is the social and cultural lens because social media involves people. The cultural and social lens discusses how daily issues impact our daily lives, relationships, customs, and beliefs. Overall, social media has a big impact on the way politics work, furthermore, a solution would be to make politicians, as well as, people use the media responsibly.
To begin with, the first lens that has an impact on politics is the economic lens. The economic lens focuses on money. For instance, the article, “How Money Corrupts American Politics,” Benjamin I. Page, from Northwestern University, “Money spent on media, organizing, and turnout tends to increase vote totals, giving a significant advantage to candidates favored by money givers.” (Page).
Candidates use their money on media to promote their organization, hence, it will be easier for them to get more votes for them to win the election. When a politician creates a big campaign for themselves, they have other people put money in their organization, and the more money means the candidate can continue more campaigns that fund themselves.
They use their wealth by creating these big and popular campaigns to promote themselves out to the world, including, private campaigns that help them earn more money from their supporters. Another example would be someone with a large platform would have more votes than someone with a smaller platform and, would likely be more wealthy than the other person.
Someone in the spotlight would be earning more money from their success and their popularity. In addition to this, Page reports about the effects of media on politics, “When big contributors contact officials they tend to get attention.” (Page). Being popular on social media is beneficial because it gives the person the attention to have a greater chance to win.
Social media affects the way some candidates are voted in because of their fame. Being popular would give the influencer more votes which is unfair for the other person running in the office. Voters prefer the person that is running in office that is more popular, thus, more votes
In addition, another lens that impacts politics is the futuristic lens, the media can have effects that can affect the future of the politicians.
For instance, in the article, “5 Ways New Media Are Changing Politics” written by Mary Kate Cary, a former white house speechwriter, “By clicking on a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” icon, constituents can give politicians an instant read on opinions and positions posted on their Web pages, sort of a rudimentary straw poll that is faster, cheaper—but less accurate—than a high-priced telephone poll.” (Cary).
This supports the fact that the media affects politics in the sense that they are getting judged, most likely not having been viewed first. That would cause the elections to be unfair because they are not getting the chance to be viewed first, if they get a simple thumbs down they might not get the number of votes they could have gotten if they would have gotten a thumbs up which is why the media would affect the future of the politics. Social media may seem to be a great way to spread the campaign, however, if the candidate is not very popular on social media then they will not have the same chance as the other candidate that is running in office and are the opposite of the candidate.
An article that explains how popularity on media can affect politics would be, “Six Ways the Media Influence Elections,” “The biggest thing that drives elections is simple name recognition. Some candidates can be literally left invisible because they can’t win enough interest from the media.” This is simply implying how the media certainly can affect the politics running, especially if the politics running have more popularity than their rival does. Some people watching the election wouldn’t care about the truth or the false of the words coming out of the candidate’s mouth because they are focusing on social status. Thus, demonstrating that the media has some positive and some negative effects on the politics.
Another lens would be the historical lens. Looking through the historical lens, clearly, it is known that media has been a part of politics for a long time. An example is about the past elections, “Citizens United and the Battle for Free Speech in America,” Steve Simpson, a writer and a former senior attorney, “Since the early 20th century, federal law has severely restricted corporate spending on political speech, first banning direct corporate contributions to candidates and then banning corporate independent expenditures for electoral advocacy.” (Simpson).
The government doesn’t want candidates to have advantages to their wealth. Since the twentieth century, there has already been very strict rules on economics toward politics and will only get stricter. In addition, another way history has an effect on politics is even through court cases, “But it was not until 1990, in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, that the Supreme Court directly considered whether the government may ban corporations from spending money on their own independent speech about candidates during elections.” (Simpson). Ever since the early nineteen nineties, the Supreme Court wants to ban candidates from spending their own money on their right to have freedom of speech. The candidates should have the right to be able to spend their money on what they want, even if it involves themselves, yet, it is still unfair how the American democracy works.
To get rid of the problem that comes with political parties, leaders, and other organized groups, then allows citizens to cast votes directly on issues they care about or to delegate those votes to more knowledgeable friends; fluid democracy. In the article, “Democratic Media Activism Through the Lens of Social Movement Theory,” William K. Carroll, who attended University of Victoria, Canada, and Robert A. Hackett, who attended Simon Fraser University, Canada both explained how media makes politics very bland, “Even software cannot excite ordinary citizens about the dreary issues of which most politics are” (Carroll and Hackett).
This lack of curiosity about how the world works is the most harmful feature of Internet-centrism. The internet changes the way people think about things. Clearly, posts online do affect the way someone will think about a future candidate and change their viewpoints. To add on, “Politics and Media Influence,” Patricia H. Hinchey, a Professor Emerita of Education at Penn State, “Armed with the Internet, its proponents do not care much about the larger objective of their reform, they prefer to notice only those elements amenable to Internet interventions and discard all others” (Hinchey). A solution to these problems would be to filter out the media and only release constructive information to the public, then we would have a more informed voter ratio. Media on politics affects people not only culturally, but socially as well, it convinces others to believe in one idea.
To sum it up, social media can have many effects on politics. The first form that affects politics is the economic lens, the issue with economics is that certain people have more money to promote their campaigns, on the other hand, it is unfair for others because they may not have sufficient funds to promote their own campaigns to the media because media becomes expensive as it advances in the future. The solution to fix this problem would be to give an equal amount of money to each candidate so they can promote their campaigns. The second complication would be that the media can affect the politics and the people’s future, and the form it would affect the politics would be that the media can give fabricated information and the votes will be based off their votes off popularity.
A solution to fix this would be to limit the number of comments that people are able to see on the news. People seeing one candidate more famous would make them think that the famous candidate running is a higher class than the other one. Another problem would about the historical lens, the media has been around for a while now and it has grown vastly since the 1960s, since then the laws have changed and politics now have a certain limit on how much money they can spend on the media.
The solution for this would simply be for the people to obey the limit on how much someone can spend on an organization for a politician trying to be elected in office. The final lens is the social and cultural lens. The complication with these two lenses is that social media is contributing to how some consequences in elections take action. People favor certain people because of their social status and it is prejudiced. The final solution for this problem would be to not care about popularity and filtering media.