BusinessDay

How social media can impact election campaigns

A slight look at the history of the world will indicate that from time to time, different media campaigns were used during election campaigns. Previously, radio and televisions were popular to gain support, and now, with the social media platforms, the way election campaigns are run has changed. Not only do social media platforms have a huge user base, but it is also very effective in creating a bond with the country’s people. Therefore, it can be safely said that social media platforms play a critical role in the current time in shaping the government.

Here is how social media can impact election campaigns.

It Can Give Both Good And Bad Coverages
The visibility of the candidate alone on the different social media platforms and the perception they carry on the platform can play a critical role in deciding the election result. Simple name recognition can drive the entire election result.

Candidates who are mostly invisible on social media platforms have a higher chance of losing the election campaign. Therefore, it becomes absolutely important for the candidates to circulate their Cool Photos during the election days. Further, the media also covers all the candidates who have a chance to win the election.

Also, the image portrayed on social media plays a key role in creating a positive or negative image accordingly.

Creation Of An Echo Chamber
Many people currently receive most of their news from different social media platforms. This is a problematic situation because most of such news is heavily filtered. For instance, what Facebook users see depends upon the algorithm. This algorithm is designed in a manner that considers the likes and dislikes of the user.

Therefore, there is a high chance that the user will continue repeatedly encountering similar kinds of posts. This factor further strengthens the bond between users or voters with candidates they have never met.

Candidates Can Now Directly Communicate With The Voters
It is not uncommon to find a candidate with their official account on social media platforms, particularly on Facebook and Twitter. Social media platforms provide a level playing game for both the new and the old candidates to speak directly to the voters.

They not only use this opportunity to speak about the policies of their parties but also that of the opponents too. Also, connecting with the voters through social media platforms is a cost-effective way to connect the voters as it costs much less than advertising on traditional media.

Endless Info-Commercials Options
Political campaigns are no longer limited to posters and banners. Social media platforms provide endless info-commercial options to the candidate. Even a simple tweet can sometimes bring an entirely new wave to the election campaign.

Further, social media supports a wide variety of content types. Therefore, the candidates are presented with a plethora of options to gather the voters’ attention.

Circulation Of Misinformation
Just as a candidate can use social media platforms to create a good image, opposition parties can use the same platform to tarnish the image of an opposing candidate. It is not new to see fake news circulating on the WhatsApp Status of the users who believe that the fake news is actually trustworthy. Consequently, verifying the facts becomes crucial before voting as the smear campaign can be based on both true facts and false information.

Mostly, misinformation or fake news is circulated on the platform to confuse, manipulate, and deceive voters. Many times, when things get out of control, there is also a chance of polarization happening too.

Peer Pressure To Vote
From time to time, Facebook has come up with badges to fight for a cause. For instance, people who took the Covid vaccination can flaunt the same on the badge. Similarly, voting is also encouraged with a badge.

This creates peer pressure among social media users to engage in civic participation. When Facebook users see that other people have voted, they become more inclined to vote.

The social media platform can be used for both good and bad during election campaigns. Therefore, social media users need to be more responsible about the content they consume. It is recommended to cross-check the facts that they see on social media posts from relevant news websites.

Further, one should stay away from polarisation happening on social media platforms and carry a thorough background check of all the potential candidates to vote wisely. Lastly, think twice before getting influenced by any social media content, especially during election days.

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