How Social Media Affects Politics

Gabrielle McGarry

We’ve heard about the negatives to social media.  How it destroys self image, ruins connections or even how it’s ruining art.  But many of us scratch our heads at how social media is ruining politics.  We just lived through the most influential presidential debate in history.  The social media influence had a big part in the outcome of the election.

Trump, known as a “natural-born troll” used his social media influence to persuade users to vote for himself rather than “crooked Hillary.”  His controversial tweets only gave him more momentum rather than tear apart his credibility.  As stated in an article titled, How Social Media is Ruining Politics, “authority and respect don’t accumulate on social media….”  What one says no longer matters, what matters is how much controversy one can cause.  Controversy leads to engagement which leads to more reach due to shares/retweets.  This leads to more coverage which could easily influence political outcomes, whether that be a positive or negative outcome.

Aside from actually influencing the political outcome, politics on social media is also ruining our connections.  In an article called Did Social Media Ruin Election 2016, author Sam Sanders mentions how our political views destroyed friendships.  Many of us feel the need to share our beliefs on social medias.  While there’s nothing wrong with sharing beliefs, becoming hostile towards your friends or followers should be frowned upon.  With people saying “Just unfriend me now” or “If you don’t support my candidate, we don’t need to be friends anymore,” brings arguments and loss of friendships.

x

It’s important to remember that social media wasn’t born to dictate the outcome of a political election nor was it made to tear people apart.  Social media was created to bring people together and if we continue to define people by their political beliefs, many of us will find ourselves without the friends we have been close to for several years.

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism