Blog post #2 – Politics and Social Media – and Benjamin Netanyahu’s Babysitter Ad

Politics aside (and if you know anything about Netanyahu, this might be difficult for you) ….. this is a very funny ad that has been circulating in political circles. It has already been viewed on YouTube 152,000 times. I find it amazing that 30 years ago politicians wouldn’t appear on Johnny Carson or Letterman but now they are compelled to produce witty ads that run on social media.  I thought it would be interesting to explore this phenomenon.  As soon as I saw the ad I began to wonder how many political staffers were up late trying to reproduce a similar ad. Could Harper, Trudeau, Mulcair or May reproduce the sentiment of this ad? It gets you thinking and produces a few chuckles.

Social Media

Social media has completely changed the political landscape. Politicians are now “required”, like it or not, to communicate with their constituents over Twitter and Facebook. Barack Obama’s 2008 US presidential campaign has often been described as the first electoral campaign in which the use of social media had a decisive impact.The core of the web-based campaign was a well-designed, versatile and dynamic website.

At it evolved, social media also played a central role in the transition of power in Egypt during the so-called Arab Spring and in the Orange Revolution in Iran.

Social media 2

Below is an article written in MinnPost 09/08/14, Briana Bierschbach. The article outlines just how candidates are using sites like Buzzfeed to promote their agenda. She wrote,

“Did you know that Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton writes for Buzzfeed?

The Democratic governor’s first post on the popular listicle site (sample article: “21 Adorable Turtles Who Cannot Win”) was “26 More Reasons To Love Minnesota.” Number five on the list was the fact that a guy also named Mark Dayton signed the bill to legalize same-sex marriage in 2013.

That was followed up with “9 Thoughts That Go Through Your Mind At The Minnesota State Fair,”which mostly consisted of jokes about being hungry, though it ended with a call for volunteers for the governor’s re-election campaign.

Like most of Buzzfeed’s clickable content, the lists were designed to be widely shared across social networking sites, usually by Minnesotans (or ex-Minnesotans) taking pride in their state. What many of those people might not know, however, is that Dayton’s post are part of the site’s Buzzfeed Community, “where anyone can post awesome lists and creations.”

“It’s been really fun and we found it can reach an audience we don’t typically interact with,” Dayton campaign manager Katharine Tinucci said. “Our supporters will see our messages on Facebook, but the Buzzfeed posts have been able to reach a little bit farther.”

Politicians and political parties have spent the last decade adjusting to the Internet era of campaigning, but the arsenal of digital tools to try and reach voters—especially always elusive younger voters—is constantly evolving. Today, sites like Facebook and Twitter are used for everything from instantaneous messaging to organizing activists, even while the more digitally savvy candidates are trying to leverage widely-read pop culture sites like Buzzfeed to create viral content that offers a level exposure that was once unimaginable.”

The power of social media to affect society is based on its social aspects: this means interaction and participation. In several different studies of citizen voting habits results have shown that voting decisions are not usually based on one-step communication. More noteworthy is two-step communication, which means conversation with opinion leaders, colleagues, friends and acquaintances who can either consolidate or weaken the voter’s opinion. (Laura Jerpi)

According to journalist Laura Jerpi, “Creating a social media strategy for use during political campaigns has become an essential part of every candidate’s plan to get into office. With social media sites often getting more traffic than an official campaign website, it’s important for candidates to get connected. The use of social media in today’s campaign is not only important — it is critical, millions of people are involved in using social networks daily. It is the opportunity to be in touch with large numbers of voters quickly, constantly and at a low cost.”

Chris Saad, chief strategy officer at Echo, compared the use of social media in the 2008 presidential election to the first televised campaign debate in 1960, between then-presidential candidates John Kennedy and Richard Nixon.“The candidate who learned how to put on makeup and smile is the one who won the debate, and the other won on radio, (because) he understood the language of TV,” Saad says.

How important do you think the use of social media is in today’s campaigns?

One thought on “Blog post #2 – Politics and Social Media – and Benjamin Netanyahu’s Babysitter Ad

  1. I think it’s incredibly important! More than just ideas and vision, voters are looking for authenticity and accessibility, which are qualities seldom found in a politician. I strongly believe that more politicians should make a more sincere effort to engage with voters to demonstrate their human side and make themselves more “relatable” to the every day citizen.

    Great post!

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