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December 02, 2016 09:40 AM UTC

4 Ways Social Media Influences Politics

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  • by: Phoner

The results of the recent 2016 American presidential election shook the world to its core and remains one of the most controversial new stories to date. The chasm between democrats and republicans continues to grow in the weeks following the election, and social media is playing a significant part, especially with millennials. While it is difficult to say how social media platforms will shape the future of politics, its current effects can be seen in how users get their information, speak their opinions, and engage with world events.

1.     Candidates Can Reach Out Directly

Before social media, political candidates had to create paid advertisements for television and radio to get their platforms heard. This required a great deal of time and money. However, times have changed, and an infographic released by USC reports that technology is changing the way politicians reach out to their constituents, particularly with social media. Free accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms allow politicians to communicate with voters whenever they please, which may allow them to reach more people than ever before.

2.     News Spreads Rapidly on Social Media

During the recent U.S. presidential election, it seemed as if anything either candidate said, did, or was even accused of doing hit social media instantly and was shared across thousands of accounts. While some people believe that this had a negative effect on the election’s outcome, it can be said that the speed at which news travels across social media is considerable. Gone are the days when it took major news stories hours to hit the major media outlets; today, everyone is a journalist and can post news stories to their accounts from any mobile device with a few clicks.

3.     Fundraising Efforts Can Reach a Wider Audience

A resource from USC’s Master of Laws program reveals that there are over one dozen different types of white collar crimes, with many of them related to fraud. While political campaign fraud can certainly be counted among the history of America’s white collar crimes, the way politicians can raise campaign funds has grown to include social media. While this method is not without controversy, politicians can let their supporters know where to donate and when, which may allow them to raise a lot of money in a short time.

Raising funds on social media can be a double-edged sword for any politician. Many of today’s voters are tech-savvy millennials who may make it their business to track such campaigns, especially when they are well-educated in the letter of the law. For more information on how to earn a master of law, click here to learn more about USC’s masters in llm online program.

4.     Like-Minded People Ban Together

Creating groups on social media takes only a few minutes and when politicians do this, they can draw together their constituents in a way that can have a considerable result. A feeling of belonging tends to drive the growth of these groups, and when it has common goal, such as getting others to vote for a particular candidate, the ripples can have far-reaching effects.

Social media has changed the way Americans think about politics. It may be interesting to see how future platforms may shape the way the country votes in 2020.

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