Facebook, a tool for Politicians?

With the use of social media on the rise in our daily lives it is not a foreign concept that we can easily communicate with people all around the world through the internet. Communication that was limited to snail mail, telephone, radio and television throughout the ages are now gradually shifting towards online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter,
Instagram etc. The internet which not so long ago was seen as a ‘luxury’ has now seem to become a necessity for life which is one of the main reasons that even remote areas and reserves have internet access. Due to this common accessibility to internet, it is being used as the main tool for communication. It is even being used to replace the use of a two way radio for communication in the remote west coast of Vancouver Island.

When it comes to using Facebook as a tool for politicians I believe that is a great way to communicate, discuss concerns and approximately measure numbers but focusing mainly on it is not a good strategy. There is a ‘digital divide’ so to speak, between urban regions and reserves but what is lacks to mention is that although internet access is commonly available, who is to say that it is actually being used? How many people with internet in remote regions will be using Facebook in the first place? And how about the ones that do not use the internet at all even though it is available? How would they be able to keep up with the political discussions and voice their concerns? Another problem that can be seen are the risks for openness of political dialogue since Facebook is a private corporation, there is only so much you can control, like what gets taken down or gets put up and at what time. Other problems with using Facebook as the main tool for a political platform that the article fails to mention are things like how people are often hesitant in believing the things they read and see online, for serious issues like a political election it is far more effective to meet people face to face and communicate in person to make a more lasting impression.

Using social media is not all bad, it can be a very powerful platform to get messages across and get people together as the first nations politicians are aiming to do. A recent example that we can see that exhibits the strength of Facebook and social media tools in general in politics is the Egyptian revolution that was originated by a Facebook page. It attracted people around the globe and gave birth to such a large movement that ended up being highly successful in its aim was to take down a political leader. Other media movements like ‘Kony 2012’ and many others are just a few examples of the power of social media in this day and age.
Written by:
Shizra Saqib

 

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