Are Social Media Becoming Political Media?

-What is the role of social media in politics?
-Can Twitter and Facebook really become a sustained weapon in political struggle?

Social Media is used in Australian Politics on a regular basis; everybody has seen Kevin Rudd’s infamous Twitter and Instagram. How many posts about the election by people wishing to express their opinions? The share button on the bottom of newspaper articles is regularly exploited by many people. Social Media has a role in politics in a few particular ways; Social Media enables candidates to promote themselves and their opinions, it enables its users to promote their opinions and it creates a 24 hour news cycle. There is always someone watching, listening and observing. Even if they are passive observers of social media, they can make their opinions know via social media.

Twitter and Facebook maybe able to become a sustained weapon in a political struggle, although no revolution began on Facebook. They both enable news to be spread and reach across a large audience, groups to be formed and events to be created. The  first problem with Twitter and Facebook is that they can both be blocked by the government, much like internet is censored in China. The second problem with Twitter and Facebook in a political struggle is the passive observer; people are more than happy to ‘Like’ or ‘Retweet’ something but they are less likely to take active arms against a political struggle. The failure of Kony 2012 is a direct consequence of this. If the fight is on your own street, such as seen in the Arab Springs; affecting your internet supply or food supply you are much more likely to take part.

In this article a young writer from Jakata chronicals the ways in which he uses social media and the ways it impacts him in the up and coming elections in Jakata: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/10/12/youths-politics-and-role-social-media.html

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