Posted in SMO on 10 Apr, 2019
Digital media has shaped political campaigns in a significant way in recent times. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social media platforms often brimming with viral political stories. The prevalence of these sites in politics has made the candidates more accountable to the voters.
Directly or indirectly, social media has been playing a crucial role in the political scenario across the world. It has eventually changed the way politicians run their campaigns. With the social media tools around, politicians can now publish content instantaneously and take it to millions of users within no time.
Considering the expenses, advertising on social media is cheaper as compared to the traditional advertisement channels. Since social media connects millions of people on a daily basis, it is easy to reach out to them through these platforms.
Social media comes with a communication infrastructure that facilitates the production and exchange of political information. This fosters greater collaboration and interaction within the political parties, besides, helping them stay connected with the people.
Over the last couple of decades, social media has been an intricate mechanism in the way political parties design and carry out their campaigns. The impact has been radical on the way through which governmental institutions are operated and leaders communicate with the public.
Eventually, the entire political media system has been transformed and journalists now have to play a redefined role. At present, citizens take part in politics in a different way, as compared to a couple of decades ago.
It is evident that the political media system has become much more complicated, thanks to digital media. Legacy media, consisting of radio shows, newspapers and news programs on TV now coexist with social media.
Naturally, the power of social media helps political news stories go viral. From political agendas to scandals, the movement of news is faster on the new media platforms. Blogs, websites, digital apps, video-streaming websites and social media feed people with news that they love to read.
The shareability of news on these platforms is greater. This ensures that interesting political news that appeal to the target masses become viral in no time.
One of the key reasons people trust news on social media is the fact that this mechanism is devoid of the gatekeeping effect. Information on social media gets relayed to the public directly, without any interference of the gatekeepers.
The legacy news platforms are biased to some extent, as they back one political party or the other. Eventually, the news on these platforms lacks authentication and purity. Due to the interconnectivity between social media platforms, it becomes easier to share the news.
Both pro-party and anti-party news can become viral, as people enjoy greater control over the activities. Thus, the audience has a greater role to play in social media, than simply being a reader.
Throughout the advertising industry, targeting is extensively used to get the messages across to the right audience. Politicians, too, use this strategy on social media platforms. For instance, politicians willing to discuss the concerns about students, women or retired people and other groups use targeting mechanisms on social media, ensuring that the posts go viral.
Analytics on Facebook helps them to target the messages, which enhances the relevance of news to the audience. In the process, the posts carry greater news value and become viral on social media platforms.
People take political messages more personally these days, as they are highly targeted. No wonder, why you come across too many political posts on social media platforms.
You might be aware of the fake news being circulated on social media platforms. Over time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate fake news from the actual ones that find their way to social media.
People often get confused over the news, and often come across rumors, satire and speculations. All these make it difficult to believe political news on social media. However, some of the mainstream news channels pick up news that initially appears on social media platforms. They verify the news and publish the truth. But, the news remains biased to a certain extent, depending on the political connections of the media house.
Particularly, people often believe posts that are actually fake but, appear to be authentic. These are often created by opposition parties, to spread rumors about their competing parties. Several unverified conspiracy theories go viral on social media, simply because people like trolling political parties they don’t agree with.
Eventually, this kills the relevance and news value of the posts. Fake news is not only misleading but also harmful as it changes the ideology of people in the wrong direction. People often lack the power to differentiate between authentic and fake news.
Twitter campaigns, driven by bots form one of the core elements in the contemporary political advertisement campaigns. A core group is entrusted to tweet relevant information and spread it. These tweets subsequently undergo a large number of retweets. Each political party posts information related to its agenda and Twitter makes them viral on social media.
The integration of artificial intelligence in the campaigns helps in understanding the temperament of the people toward the entire political ecosystem. Certain technologies have been developed to augment human intelligence. Traditional strategies like fundraising and polling history are inadequate to generate predictions. In these cases, AI is used to get expert forecasts.
Both digital and traditional media are presently enjoying a symbiotic relationship. Most of the traditional media houses have incorporated a media wing in their departments. They try to publish authentic political news on these portals.
However, these too, go viral as the links are circulated on social media. The difference is, social media news authenticated by reputed media houses are more enriched in terms of newsworthiness. It helps in getting the masses opinionized about the respective political agenda. And that’s both a good and a bad thing at the same time.
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