Transparency 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?