Dr. Dudash visited class last Monday and discussed her views on politics pertaining specifically to social media. This was such an interesting topic considering it is a very new concept for politicians and voters. This past election between Obama and Romney presented the first election to have highly active social media leading up to voting day.
Dudash was asked to reflect on the reading about this issue and how she interpreted it. The first thing she noticed was the fact that they compared a political campaign to a marketing campaign. She explained that politics is a zero sum game; you either win, or you lose. You only have a short period to respond, so it is do or die. This reasoning is what makes political campaigns so different from marketing campaigns.
It was very interesting once she started to figure out where social media comes into play in politics. She seemed just as confused as anyone when it comes to this issue because it is something no one has ever had to study and examine. Dr. Dudash mentioned that there is a complicated persuasion process in politics. First, you have to persuade your audience to listen to you. Then you have to persuade them to vote. Finally, you have to persuade them to vote for you. This is where she said social media becomes bizarre.
She then discussed the history of technology pertaining to elections in the past. Each year, things got more advanced. It is interesting to me that this was the first year social media came into play because it feels like people have been using it for a long time. It is bizarre to think that four years ago, Twitter was hardly even known by the public. Social media in politics proposes an issue when you look at how much interactivity and commenting goes on. This is encouraged in the business and personal realm of social media, yet very confusing and problematic for politics.
People cannot figure out what message to analyze once interactivity and commenting occurs on social media platforms. Social media makes a national campaign seem interpersonal, which is something that has never occurred before. After this past campaign, it is apparent that more studies need to be done on political social media. More people will know how to handle it and “tame the beast” if it is examined more and possible solutions are made.