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Sociology: Politics and social media

The term "mass media" refers to a wide variety of media innovations that attract a broad audience through mass communication. The broadcast media electronically transmits messages through television, recorded music, video, and radio (Bruns, 2016). Social networking, on the other hand, refers to computer-linked technology that facilitates the exchange and development of thoughts, job preferences, and knowledge across networks and virtual communities. Furthermore, social media sites make use of web-based applications, mobile and desktop computers to create highly immersive platforms where organizations, groups, and individuals can explore, alter, and co-create user-generated content online (Harvey, 2014). Both social and mass media have impacted worldwide politics due to their wide coverage. However, the two modes of transforming information have similarities and differences in ways that they have affected politics based on the means of communication and role in the society.

The role of social and mass media in manipulating class and mass traits has been the major concern among critical researchers since the twentieth century. In the political field defined by the widespread of partisan animosity and polarization, a simple communication can go awry when audiences turn into politics (Richardson, 2017). Current studies have indicated that political discussions and debates in both mass and social media are the regular facts of the digital life for several individuals. Moreover, most of the politically active users enjoy the opportunities and discussion for engagement that the mass and social media creates to facilitate politics. Politics has become part of daily life since news in both social and mass media are full of administration concerns, and people tend to respond or comment on any new political issue within the country or the world. Furthermore, politicians have turned to use the media in engaging voters and spreading their manifestos without difficulties.

Similarities

The utilization of both mass and social media in politics including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, television, radio and many others has drastically adjusted the way campaigns are conducted and how citizens interact with their leaders. Moreover, both social and mass media has made it easier for people to keep on engaging each other on matters regarding leadership and updates in democracy. The prevalence of mass and social media in politics has made voted candidates and officials more accessible to voters and accountable in their offices (James Druckman, 2015). Furthermore, the capability to print information and transmit it to thousands of individuals instantly permits campaigns to cautiously control their leaders’ descriptions founded on the rich collections of analytics in actual time and with reduced cost. The similarities between the social and mass media impacts in politics can be illustrated in various aspects including contact with voters, campaigns, weighing public opinion, discussions and tailoring messages.

Updating News

Both social and mass media has adjusted the way communication landscape in a manner that every person in different places can get updates of the trending news in politics. The social media utilizes online platforms to update voters and citizens on the current and new political events and campaigns. Similarly, the mass media has a sequence of reporting political news thus updating the public on how leaders are involved in various activities (Graber, 2015). The ongoing political rallies and events are streamlined through the televisions and social media platforms to make the public aware of what is going on in the country leadership and development. Both the social and mass media have many distinct outlets through which individuals receive updates in politics such as advertising, television, Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp (Murse, 2016). Through the social and mass media, politics have been made a daily event that can be followed every moment since they are part of all time news and highlights.

Direct Contact

Both the social media and mass media tools for disseminating the information and interaction has enabled politicians to talk directly with their voters without wasting time or incurring many costs. There are online platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp groups, Twitter and chat messages that are used by leaders to communicate with people at specific time. Moreover, the mass media invites politicians into their studios whereby voters ask questions through phone calls and messages (Graber, 2015). Through both mass and social media, leaders are required to answer questions and explain their manifestos as well as what they have done for the community which makes them committed to their work. The direct contact between voters and leaders is enhanced by the current technology which has shaped the way officials function when in public offices. Furthermore, mass and social media use live discussions that engage the public, and their officials making it simple for people to understand what is going on with the administration and plans. Also, leaders use the social and mass media to communicate the agenda of the planned meetings and other political events so that to rectify or have opinion on what to improve (Murse, 2016).

Campaign Tool

Both the social and mass media are used as campaign tools where leaders sell their ideas. The radios, television, Facebook, Twitter and other modern means of communication have become instrumental in planning and organizing political campaigns. The platforms permit activists and voters to share information and news easily with one another. The sharing of information in both mass and social media has simplified the way campaigns are conducted since they have broad audience coverage (Bruns, 2016). Leaders are taking advantage of the mass and social media to sell their ideas and plans to the nation as well as to criticize other officials who have failed. Furthermore, politicians use social and mass media to post pictures, videos, and messages portraying their achievements and development projects.

Criticism

Political criticism in the world has become rampant in the past years due to the introduction of democracy and many people involvement in politics. Both the mass and social media has enabled politicians to criticize the government, political parties, officials, and policies. Opposition parties and leaders use both the social and mass media to illustrate how existing administration policies are not meeting the need of the public. Through the mass and social media, the public can criticize their leaders by engaging in live discussions and debates. Furthermore, the parliament proceedings are aired through the mass and social media where voters are participating by dropping their comments through chat messages and phone calls (James Druckman, 2015). Prominent leaders have press conference or visit the studios where they explain to the public their work as well as commenting on the criticism messages and rumors. Similarly, different leaders have official pages in the social media where they clarify on the current and trending issues in politics as well as reacting to the false allegations and claims of the opposition parties.

Tailoring Message

Political campaigns need the tailoring of message to the audience and reaching a high number of individuals. Both social and mass media has enabled politicians to tailor messages to individuals of distinct demographics. The social and mass media has made the world to look like one village hence enabling the flow of political messages and agendas. Besides, mass and social media have impacted the way people understand their democracy rights and means of fighting for better government (Murse, 2016). It is via the mass and social media where activists and leaders teach people their constitutional rights on voting and their role as citizens in ensuring better governance. Additionally, both the mass and social media has helped governments to spread the messages of voters’ registration and to encourage people to ballot so that they can decide on the type of leadership they want. Furthermore, politics have been made easier by the social and mass media since candidates, and existing leaders depict their qualities by addressing the nation through radios and televisions as well as via online means.

Debate

The current politics are full of debates and discussion that are facilitated by the mass and social media. In most nations, there is always a motion related to politics debated in various mass and social media outlets. Through the social media, politicians have discussion groups where his or her supporters drop various comments regarding the policies and strategies to improve the life of the community. Correspondingly, there are political debates in the mass media that are frequently held where leaders are supposed to talk to voters. Citizens have been given a chance to debate and ask questions regarding the type of developments need in the society. Through political debates and discussions in the mass and social media, voters are given the opportunity to evaluate each candidate so that to elect the visionary person who can move the nation to higher levels (Kate, 2012). Additionally, debates in both social and mass media have helped people to understand their democratic rights and various ways they can condemn bad administration that does not meet the requirements of the state. Furthermore, politics have been made tough, and a daily trend by the social and mass media since people must stay updated on the continuing political events all over the globe.

Weighing Public Opinion

The value of social and mass media to politics is its immediacy. Activists and politicians do not start their political agendas without first understanding how their moves or policy statements will play among individuals. Through social and mass media, leaders are able to instantaneously weigh how the public is reacting to a controversy or an issue (Kate, 2012). Weighing the public opinion helps politicians to adjust their manifestos and campaigns accordingly without the utilization of expensive polling or high-priced consultants. There is voting in mass media where voters send their opinion via messages or phone calls after which the votes are analyzed to determine the winner regarding particular political seat or policy. Likewise, politicians use the likes and comments on Facebook and other outlets to predict the chances of winning the election or victory of specific policy.

Power of Many

Both the social and mass media tools have allowed citizens to join easily in petitioning the administration and elected officials by leveraging their figures against the influence of monied special interests and powerful lobbyists. Mutually, social and mass media have the power of the majority since people can manipulate the way the government runs its policies (James Druckman, 2015). Mass media helps in unveiling the hidden corruptions and other misconducts of the administration thus making sure that the government officials are accountable in their duties of serving the public. Similarly, social media acts as the watchdog for ensuring that the government is functioning in line with the constitution and interest of the people. Different political topics are discussed in the media where the opinion of the majority is taken for implementation (Kate, 2012). The media has the power to change the trend of politics in any country since leaders are kept in touch with the public making sure that the goals are achieved.

Differences

Although social and mass media have common impacts to the politics, there exist some differences. Mass media keeps audience in the passive place while social media situates the addressees at the midpoint (Harvey, 2014). The influence that each media has on politics can be attributed to the group of individuals engaged in politics, types of messages disseminate, sharing of information and advertisements. Furthermore, politicians use social and mass media differently to gain the public support or gain victory for particular policy.

Target Population

The social media has greatly impacted the politics by involving young voters who did not vote before. Before the use of social media, the large number of voters was older people, but the introduction of young people in voting has impact in politics (Murse, 2016). Facebook and Twitter have motivated young voters making politics for all people in the country. Young people spend most of their time in social media which has turned to be the political arena. Contrarily, mass media has impacted politics by targeting older people who spend much of their time in televisions and radios. The majority of old people are educated about their voting and democracy rights through the mass media which is opposite to the social media.

Advertising

Social media has made politics easier since advertising political rallies and campaigns is easier. Politicians are using the advantage of social media outlets to disseminate their messages to the public as well as to sell their policies. Campaigns through the social media are cheap thus making even the poor people to get involved in politics. Young and poor individuals can contest for particular leadership position as long as they are eligible without considering the amount of money for campaign since they can conduct campaigns via Facebook and WhatsApp (Graber, 2015). In opposition, mass media has made politics expensive since journalists who cover campaigns have to be paid. Advertising or campaigning through the mass media is expensive which restricts poor people from contesting elections.

False Messages

The use of social media in politics has led to the creation of rumors and false messages to convince the public regarding particular issue in the community. Politicians use the advantage of the social media and internet to post messages, images, and clips that aim at demoting or criticizing their political rivals. Furthermore, the social media has come to a dirty platform where every person can post any ill information regarding the government or leader which creates tensions in the society. The sharing of information and campaigns in the social media is viral hence any hate speech from any leader can cause chaos (Harvey, 2014). In contrary, mass media has made political leaders remain accountable for their actions and speeches. For instance, the television news are stored and later used to criticize leaders who fail to meet the goals they had promised. Social media has made politicians liars since one can deny the posting of particular information that can ruin his or her connection with the Society. However, mass media ensures that politicians adhere to the norms of studios and bad messages that can destroy peace or unity in the country cannot be released.

Continuous Politics

Since campaigning through the mass media is expensive, politics have been made periodical trends that occur after some time based on the constitution of each nation. Politicians only appear in mass media when there is political heat but neglect citizens after they are elected. Mass media has changed politics to look like investments through the advertisements made for campaigning certain leaders (James Druckman, 2015). In opposition, social media has made politics a continuous thing since different individuals post their political opinions on the internet because it is cheap and easily accessible. Individuals who are not good leaders can use social media to gain entry to the leadership positions even if they have personal interests. Whereas mass media has made politicians to do what they promise through live interviews and discussions, social media has facilitated the rise of propagandas.

Choosing News

Mass media changes the political news that are disseminated to the public. Political images and information that contains ill message that can disrupt the unity of the country are always omitted by the media to foster unity and development. Differently, social media does not regulate the type of political messages delivered to citizens (Richardson, 2017). Politics in the social media have turned to be a dirty game since people provide information without evidence for the sake of gaining public support. Whereas mass media selects the type of news to deliver depending on the political interests, the social media provides all type of news.

Conclusion

Conclusively, mass and social media have profound impacts on the politics that are similar although some are different. Social media uses desktops, computers, web-based invention and mobile phones to create interactive platforms while mass media transmit information via the radio, television, film and recorded music. Both social and mass media have made political campaigns easier since they have a wide coverage. Politicians use the power of both mass and social media to gain public support and to sell their agendas. Furthermore, both social and mass media are used to measure the public opinion regarding government policies and likelihood of being elected. Weighing the public opinion has helped politicians to change their strategies and campaigns without consulting experts or conducting elections. However, mass media campaigns are expensive which limits poor people from engaging in politics while social media advertisements are cheap thus involving young and financially unstable individuals in the government. Also, social media has increased criticism in politics since any person can post irrelevant information but mass media controls the political news that will be communicated.

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References

Bruns, A., 2016. The Routledge companion to social media and politics. Routledge, New York.

Graber, D.A., 2015. Mass media and American politics. CQ Press, Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Harvey, K., 2014. Encyclopedia of social media and politics. Sage Publications, Los Angeles.

James Druckman, 2015. Media Effects in Politics. Oxf. Bibliogr. 33.

Kate, M. (2012, May 4). Access Denied. Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2010/02/04/5-ways-new-media-are-changing-politics

Murse, T. (2016, August 23). How Social Media Have Changed Politics For Better and Worse. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/how-social-media-has-changed-politics-3367534

Richardson, G.W., 2017. Social media and politics: a new way to participate in the political process. Praeger, An imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC, Santa Barbara, California.

August 18, 2021

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