Social media has taken over as our primary means of interaction. With a virtual means of communication it tends to leave out those who are not “connected” to the virtual world. Sites like Facebook and Twitter link people from around the world through online virtual technology which allows for a virtual rather than face to face interaction with one’s peers.
Political campaigns have found great success with social media but also find far more difficulties arise now that social media contains vast amounts of information of the present as well as the past. We all know the realities of small communities and the possibilities linked with gossip and social interactions. Social media now allows for an easier spread of gossip, be it truth of fiction. When linked with politics it’s difficult for a politician to remain free from scandal given the power that a social media play in bringing about anyone’s personal past.
Other positive means of social media and politics can be seen if we look at the Obama campaign, which gained in power by reaching out to the younger generation who are completely consumed by social media. The power of Facebook and Twitter quite possibly were the most successful tools of Obama’s campaign efforts. There is a means to reaching those were not previously politically inclined, but with the power of social media we saw the first true successful interaction with young voters. There was momentum during his campaign through online discussions that allowed for younger voters to feel involved and become engaged in the idea that their vote mattered.
Beyond political involvement social media has truly changed the face of interaction; it may take decades for us to discover if these changes are for the better or for the worse. But regardless it’s easy to see that changes are ongoing. We are constantly linked to one another via Facebook and Twitter status updates. We have the ability to know that at 2pm on Sunday afternoon our friend in Australia was going out for a cup of coffee with their good friend Billy. Twenty years ago, the phone was our major link and hearing a distant friend’s voice or reading their words on paper were our best means of communicating. Are we losing out on meaningful face to face or even voice to voice interaction? Or are we gaining in other means of online interaction with individuals who may have been out of our reach prior to the onset of social media?