23 March 2016

Social Media and Politics

I find the current political scene on social media somewhat fascinating.

Sure, Facebook.com has been around for years now, but it wasn’t really available to the general public until 2006. Most folks were slow to embrace social media. The teen set and 20-somethings were already using MySpace.com from back in 2003, but with the introduction of Facebook in 2006, membership in MySpace started a gradual decline as everyone started moving over to Facebook.

At first, just the younger generations made the move, but I quickly saw how cell phones, text messaging, and social networking were going to become the primary means of communication. If I had any hope of staying up to date with the lives of my children and grandchildren I had to adapt. So, just to keep in touch, I joined Facebook in 2009. My hunch was right about keeping informed. Most folks now turn to Facebook or Text Messaging before they even think about making a personal phone call. It even happened to me once. I found out about a health issues one my grandkids was facing through a Facebook status update.

Excuse me as I digress…

Nowadays, everyone, at every age beyond 12, is on Facebook. Facebook did not have the political impact it had back in the 2008 campaign for President, because I don’t think a lot of campaign managers and candidates really understood the power or social networking. They did a much better job campaigning in social media by 2012, but this year it’s phenomenal. Between the Facebook users sharing videos, memes (yes kids and grandkids, I actually know what a meme is… this old lady still can learn a thing or two), Presidential campaigning, news coverage, and focus groups, it is hard now to not be informed.

I am fascinated to see some of my Facebook friends and acquaintances are actually obsessed with election campaign rhetoric, poll results and news snippets. Some folks are making it a career of re-posting and sharing every single meme and news media article they can find that helps them re-enforce their views on the issues. I wonder if these posts are meant to make them feel better about their choice of a candidate, or if they really believe they are influencing the decisions of their Facebook followers.

I admit, I am following the polls and the political news coverage, but it is not an obsession. I read some of the Facebook posts by friends I follow, and other posts in some Facebook groups. It’s all interesting, but these posts will not influence my vote one way, or another.

Twitter is also in the mix, and 3 of the candidates, Clinton, Sanders, and Trump are tearing it up with their 140 character tweets. Just how much platform information can a candidate present in a tweet? It makes me wonder. I’d rather listen to a debate than read tweets.

The bottom line folks… stay informed about all sides of the issues and the candidates. Carefully weigh the words of the candidates and see if you believe their promises are even a possibility in today’s world. Look at their experience in this political landscape, and do what you can to prevent history from repeating itself.

The world is watching.

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