Politics and social media

The 2008 U.S. Election was regarded as being the first ‘multi platform election’ – with social media having a huge role in the historic result. But now, it seems, that social media is impacting on President Barack Obama’s leadership negatively, with many users becoming ‘desktop critics’ of the President.

You only have to take a look at social media to see that the healthcare reform bill, which was passed this week (before being withdrawn for amendment), is one topic that divides the American public. But while the majority let the bill pass with quiet satisfaction; the disenchanted are rallying the ‘Twitter troops’. The venom being directed towards Barack Obama and the Democrat party in the past few days, across all social media outlets, is nothing short of jaw dropping.

Take a look at sites like Facebook and see the swell of movement from anti-Obama users. The ‘NoBama’ Facebook application has a total of 84,765 regular users – a small minority of online Americans – but when their comments reach the point of wanting to try Democratic representatives for treason over the healthcare plan, you really have to take note.

“Awake and hoping I never need any medical care by our Socialist Health Care System…..”
Anonymous Twitter User

Social Media is no longer something to be brushed off as time wasting for geeks, especially when there are users calling for the assassination of President Obama; something that the Secret Service has now begun to investigate. If we are to learn anything from the past few hours, it is that the dissatisfied and the enraged will take control of social media, because they attract the most attention. President Obama was a huge hit with social media when he arrived; now the backlash is beginning to gather pace.

The bill has demonstrated a huge gulf in the bipartisan system of American politics; a gulf that is reflected in the social media world that now surrounds everybody. Including President Barack Obama.

“We proved that this government of the people and by the people still works for the people.”
President Obama on the passing of the healthcare bill.

The people are working too Mr President. Working on Facebook and on Twitter – be it for or against you. It’s a message that nobody should take lightly – take note of the people’s web presence. People’s opinions are no longer voiced in the street with a banner and a chant, they appear in your online news feed alongside party plans and drunken photos of the night before.

Andrew Beedle


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