Trump and Twitter: Transforming the Current Chaos into a Positive Political Forum
Social media is taking over, and political content is bombarding users’ feeds. Some individuals find it overwhelming and frustrating, while others are now taking the time to get informed and share their views on political debates. In the United States alone, the last year has shown a significant integration of politics into social media thanks to the presidential election, President Trump’s use of Twitter, and the ‘fake news’ epidemic. Clearly, social media has altered the political platform moving forward, so it is essential for people to learn the latest trends in communication to discern fact from opinion.
Prof. Dino Sossi at Columbia University & NYU reports, “Social media has made politics more immediate, responsive, reactive and visceral than it has probably ever been before in modern democracies.” As the world undergoes a massive shift in political communications, Sossi unveils the inevitable truth that coincides by stating, “Social media can unfortunately lead to the expression of opinion divorced from fact, where excessive emotion overwhelms rationality and any sense of calm.”
IGI Global contributor, Prof. Ricky Leung at the Department of Health Policy, Management and Behavior, SUNY-Albany, chimes in by stating, “Tweets can affect people’s perception and behaviors on a global scale. Using Twitter to increase communication with the public can portray connectedness and unity, which is great. Using Twitter to fuel controversies and polemic views can portray deep divisiveness.” The tweet below, for example, shows how a simple message can be interpreted in many ways, while also triggering many emotionally driven responses. While controversial tweets may not always be well-received, they can elicit raw feedback from the receivers of the message.
Some individuals believe politicians should be focusing their time and efforts on running the country rather than sending countless tweets; however, Dr. Francisco V. Cipolla-Ficarra of the Latin Association of Human-Computer Interaction, Spain & International Association of Interactive Communication feels differently. He explains that “In one of the most stable democracies of the world – the United States of America, the president must have absolute freedom to give his opinions and write what he pleases on social networks, assuming his own responsibilities.”
As Eleanor Roosevelt once stated,
“With freedom comes responsibility.”
This statement definitely rings true when it comes to social media and politics because many people demand clarity and do everything in their power to hold speakers accountable to their statements. Citizens need to search for validity, whether it comes from a news source (fake or legitimate) or directly from a leader.
While there are many debatable tweets, there are also tweets, such as the one featured above, that boost morale and can steer a nation in a positive direction. Still, social media in the political spectrum may take time for some people to adjust to, which is why Dr. Dibyendu Choudhury at the National Institute for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises highlights the following positive impacts of social media in politics:
- Brings politicians and parties closer to their potential voters
- Reshapes structures and methods of contemporary political communication
- Influences the way politicians interact with citizens and each other
- Encourages youth participation in democratic life
- Increases female participation in political discussion
- Helps advertising without paying
- Increases the sheer speed at which news, poll results and rumors are shared
“Extensive use of social media now a day is a trend for top political leaders. It is not possible for a person to give a press bite on an instant basis in reaction to any of the news. It is also not possible to face the press daily to give a message or to communicate the message to the public,” explains Choudhury.
Considering social media is inevitably taking over the political realm in modern society, it is imperative for individuals to recognize that transparency isn’t always easy to give or receive and isn’t vetted. Short snippets also don’t typically provide the full context that may be needed for accurate interpretation. Endless fake news via social media channels is constantly distorting the facts as well, so how does anyone know who/what to trust?
According to NPR, people can start sifting through real versus fake news by starting with the following tips:
- Pay attention to the domain and URL
- Read the “About Us” section
- Look at the quotes in the story
- Look who said them
- Check the comments
- Reverse image search
Learn more about best practices in social media and politics with the groundbreaking research contained in the titles below.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of IGI Global.