Politics may not have a definitive meaning, but what lawmakers do influences all facets of our lives. According to Arendt in the Promise of Politics, politics is the product of free people engaging without being compelled to control each other as equals (Alexander, 2014). This makes politicians the primary decision leaders at all levels of government, while politicians have a key role to play in meeting the demands of the electorate. In order to do this, leaders need to be as creative as possible in order to prove their best and to ensure more luck for each campaign period. When technology evolves, so do the people who deal with this technology. This paper seeks to advance the view that digital media has played a significant role in shaping politics in the US and around the world.
Digital media refers to recordings of voice, photos or videos that can be accessed, shared or played by computers and displayed via networks. Around the world, politicians love the mainstream media- television and radio as well as digital media such as social media like Facebook and Twitter, online news websites and live streaming sites such as YouTube among others.
A search into history reveals that in the sixties, politicians relied on Television to make inroads into the homes and minds of potential voters. During presidential campaigns of the 1960s, many such leaders campaigned and either won or lost depending on their ability co convince voters. It is, however, the new digital media that is taking politicians in this country and around the world to new heights.
In the US, the 2008 campaign run by retired president Barrack Obama and most recently, the Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign share a common denominator; that digital media played and continues to play a significant role in the political space. President Trump is a famous user of Twitter while retired president Obama aggressively used social networks and behavior analysis to help him win, (Bimber, 2014). Around the world, pariah nations like North Korea and political rebels like Al-Shabab in Somalia and the infamous Al Qaida have used digital media to convey the news to the outside world whenever mainstream media channels deny them airtime. In Germany, Denmark, and France, politicians who use social networks reveal a level of sophistication that attract voters.
New media is changing political space. One can use news in a manner of choice. Selective viewing using cable television, YouTube, and other sites is forcing journalists to get new approaches to delivering political messages to these potential voters.
Sharing over digital media is fast becoming a rapid way of sharing political information. Tweets, Facebook messages, video streams among others are helping to propel the political message to a new height. A message once shared has the potential to reach billions around the world in no time.
The ability for people to like items also gives useful feedback to politicians. In a short while, they can be able to tell how many people liked or disliked what they posted. This gives them time to reflect upon it and make necessary adjustments.
The connect button on most social sites will enable politicians to organize meetings or even communicate urgent issues to supporters with the assurance that something will be done in that short time to achieve something.
Through the internet, politicians can raise a lot of money to sustain their campaigns and fund their most urgent needs. This normally boosts the chances of those who have mobilization skills versus those who do not.
It is clear therefore that digital media has a big role to play in improving the politics of any nation as well as the attendant politicians. For the foreseeable future, it is more likely that more and more politicians will embrace digital media and let go of the traditional methods of news transfer. In a fast changing world, digital media uptake is mandatory and those who do not make the cut are likely to remain by the wayside.
Alexander, J. (2014). Notes Towards A Definition of Politics. Philosophy, 89(02), 273-300. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0031819113000855
Schroeder, R. (2017). Rethinking Digital Media and Political Change. The Policy and Internet Blog. Retrieved 13 April 2017, from http://blogs.oii.ox.ac.uk/policy/rethinking-digital-media-and-political-change/.
McLaughlin, K. (2014). 5 surprising things that 1960s TV changed – CNN.com. CNN. Retrieved 13 April 2017, from http://edition.cnn.com/2014/05/29/showbiz/tv/sixties-five-things-television/
Bimber, B. (2014). Digital Media in the Obama Campaigns of 2008 and 2012: Adaptation to the Personalized Political Communication Environment. Journal Of Information Technology & Politics, 11(2), 130-150. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19331681.2014.895691