Social Media & Politics

Social Media and PoliticsTransparency and authenticity are not the first things that comes to mind when I think of politics.  But they are when I think of social media.  How can politics and social media really go together?

Like some corporations, I’m sure some politicians wish social media didn’t play a role in politics.  But the fact is, they do.

From Naheed Nenshi (the new Calgary mayor who won largely in part due to social media) to Barack Obama, social media has proven a successful tool in elections.

Twitter proved to be an indispensable tool during the 2009 Iranian elections.  While the Iranian government implemented censorships to limit the coverage of protests during the election, Twitter exploded with people at the ground sharing the happenings with the world.

Why is social media a powerful political tool?

Two words: uniting and empowering.

Social media is able to unite people across vast distances that have a common interest or view.  Furthermore, this is done in real-time.  This was made evident during the recent Canadian leaders debate that aired last night when the Twitter hash tag #db8 became a worldwide trending topic.  Thousands of people were discussing their views of the debate, as the debate happened.

Social media empower everyday citizens to have their voices heard and influence change.  This was again evident by Barack Obama’s campaign. John Cass, a marketer, spoke to that point:

The Obama campaign used social media to empower people, giving groups of individuals who did not have a voice the power to organize in a way that was difficult to achieve just a few short years ago.

How I am participating

I’m really excited to be a CBC volunteer blogger to represent the issues and campaign experiences from Lethbridge.  It’s a great opportunity to see social media in action in politics.  If you want to read what I have to say or any of the other citizen bloggers, check out the Your Take blog.

Do you think social media will play an active role in this year’s Canadian election?

  • http://twitter.com/ConnieMcKnight Connie McKnight

    Mike, That’s fabulous that you’re a CBC volunteer blogger. I sure hope Social Media plays a role in this election – this unnecessary election to say the least.

    After watching most of the debate the other day, I’m more confident than ever that I don’t want any of them running the Country. With Social Networking we can easily dispel many of the untruths being told. I wish the candidates would use this platform to ask questions and find out what we want instead of the way they are using it.

    I hate to say it, but I wish Stephen Harper would get the majority, so all parties could get on with running the country instread of all the nonsense that’s been going on.

    Connie

  • http://www.mikemccready.ca/blog/ Mike McCready

    I agree with you about an unnecessary election. That being said, we are in it and hopefully you’re right about social media dispelling untruths being told. You may be interested in my latest CBC blog post entitled, ‘Are Scandals the Issue? You can read it here -> http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canadavotes2011/myelection/yourtake/2011/04/lethbridge-are-scandals-the-issue.html