President Obama created his first Facebook page this past Monday. He currently has over 900,000 likes but that number will soon become dated by the time this blog is posted. Since the page is fairly new there is not a lot of content posted yet but there are a few pictures, milestones and a brief about me section. The goal of the page is to make communication easier between the president and U.S citizens. His first post was a video of him on the South Lawn discussing the importance of spreading awareness about climate change. This post currently has over 200,000 likes, over 45,000 shares and almost 40,000 comments.
I for one am thrilled that the president decided to do this and am wondering why did it even take this long? Other politicians should follow in the president’s footsteps and create their own pages. The president is trying to be more transparent and accessible to his constituents. While in theory this is brilliant, one issue that I’m concerned with this is how genuine is the experiencing going to be? With all of the traffic that seems inevitable to come through, how will my interaction with the president change? It will be almost impossible for the president to respond to all of the comments on his posts. This seems important in order to make citizens feel like the president is actually trying to interact with you directly. It will be interesting to see where this page goes and how well is it used by the president.
We live in a day and age where politicians on all levels are trying to leverage social media for various reasons. Being from Pennsylvania, I keep tabs on my governor, Tom Wolf, through his twitter account. He post about a large variety of items both political and personal. His and many other politician’s social media accounts are very important while they hold position and while they campaign. Their accounts help to spread important news about political issues occurring at their level in the political spectrum. Social media also provides a platform to spread the views of politicians and how they will go about trying to turn their views into actions. This is especially effective when their followers share this information and spread it to an even larger base. Since politics is a “what have you done for me lately” kind of business, being able to stay connected to your constituents at a more personal level is critical to their success.
Another important aspect about their social media accounts is the day-to-day activities that they post about. While these posts do not provide very useful information to their constituents, they are able to humanize the politicians. A lot of times politicians may feel out of reach with many of their citizens and posting about their personal lives helps curious constituents keep tabs on their politicians. These personal posts can help people see why politicians are so passionate about specific issues that may otherwise seem difficult or confusing to support.
Social media has transformed the political landscape forever. With the Internet and social media, people can track every move that a politician makes, whether they like it or not. Social media provides politicians with the ability to clear up any confusion or problem before rumors turn the issue into something deadly for their careers. With that being said, social media can also reveal a politicians unattractive qualities and actions to the masses that may not have been popularly known. Social media’s transparent attribute is what makes it so intertwine with politics and this trend will probably continue until the next great breakthrough in communication.