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Social (Politics) Media

by Molina-Cosculluela

Today, social media has become the hallmark of vibrant and transparent communication. The impact of social media experienced a watershed moment when an underdog nominee rose to be seated as the nation’s choice of President. Some people pointed to how Obama convinced volunteers using social media which gave him increased loyalty among voters. The voter community became so energized that it transformed what was mainly a passive audience into a participative community.

Often there is a yawning gap between lawmakers and the general public. Previously, they communicated their ideas through newspaper and TV channels which were largely unidirectional. The common social media web sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn have large loyal user communities that can be tapped by federal agencies and politicians to make programs reach the thousands who cannot be contacted through popular means. Social media through its collaborative tools is the best bidirectional medium where a cross-sectional community of volunteers, funders, voters and influencers can be reached.

Politicians can easily gain a huge competitive advantage over their opponents by following “best practices”. Firstly, politicians can leverage on the online community base to ask questions to find out what the public is thinking. This simple transaction can bring the masses closer and is far superior to a stump speech. They can express their findings in a friendly blog. The art of communication has to be perfected while tweeting. The presentation should be legitimate and real for people to accept them.

It is very important for politicians to be time-sensitive if they are to boost web loyalty. Politicians should make an earnest effort to engage their followers. There should be some kind of target research that can be utilized, selective pertinent articles to establish their campaign ideology, links to great content and most importantly no undue blowing of trumpets. Self promotional websites should not be linked without purpose, which could even be a dampener of sorts. An element of humor cannot be discounted!

Politicians should not “broadcast” through social media, but instead use it to build bonds with people. Plan interactive sessions where they can question and also express their views.

There is a greater need for the politician to take time out and establish his commitment. This time taken might sound as a constraint initially, but in the long run this strategy can produce a strong change in mindset.

Interactive information sharing can bring the public voice into the platform, creating a new political reality.