Sunday, April 6, 2008

Social Media Consuming Politics


In a recent New York Times article "Finding Political News Online, the Young Pass It On" writer Brian Steltzer discusses the proliferation of political news on the internet. Young consumers e-mail videos and stories to friends by sending out a chain e-mail or message on social networking websites. They rely on these messages to stay current with the political race. Internet users are adopting a social filter while using mainstream websites and nontraditional media. This provides a constant viral chain and can be an advantage and disadvantage for political canidates.

You can have user generated content like the Obama Girl Video which spread like wildfire across the internet and the Steven Colbert for President facebook group which had more members than any other political candidate. Nevertheless, it can backfire on a candidate. The article "John Edward's Web General" explains how Edwards was attacked by not a politician but by a youtube user. The person posted a speech Edward's made and set it to the song 'I Feel Pretty'.

This demonstrates the capability the internet has to ruin a candidate's chance in the race. Politicians must be viral 24/7 if consumers are viral 24/7. A politician's career can begin to plunder just by the click of send to all friends in a facebook message.

4 comments:

Stephen said...

It's a scary world out there when you realize that with the click of a button your life can be ruined. This brings me to think about the episode of The Office where a lucrative photograph of Michael and his boss Jan was released throughout the office. His reputation was shakey afterwards but luckily Jan didn't find out... at least in that episode. Politicians have this same worry. Who will post something ridiculous or scandalous about them? Who knows. But damage control is something that needs to be considered always these days. I think that people also recognize that with this new medium for politics, that these kinds of defamation are to be expected. Their importance on changing people's views on the politician under question has reduced as a result, I feel.

Big Dave said...

All I have to say is "paaalease". Facebook isn't even that powerful of a tool. I've slowly come to realize this. Just because it and YouTube link the younger generation, doesn't make it the standard for "all internet". For instance, there are millions of videos circulating on YouTube that I know are just made up by random individuals. I'm not going to take those videos as seriously as I would a video directly from a presidential candidate's website. We all know the Internet is deceptive, but it's up to you to decide what is legit and what is not.

Adam Saxe said...

You can just as easily ruin/fix/jump start, for example, a politician's career. Facebook is just another form of media in many ways. Just like Starz magazine or the National Inquirer one can spread rumors on Facebook or YouTube and it is up to the reader/viewer to interpret and believe what he or she wants. Just become someones sends this stuff doesn't mean anyone cares/listens or take sit seriously

auclubvolleyball said...

I completely understand, when you put yourself on the internet you are completely vulnerable. However, sensible people will probably realize that extreme comments can't be taken seriously. The internet allows anyone to say whatever they want unless it is a site that reviews comments before they are actually posted. However, I think that a candidate would be more hurt if they did not join the fad of the online world. There would be less people checking out who they are and what they are about. I think the risk of an extreme comment is better than not getting on the web any day.