For many ways because of its wide extension to

For this question,
I have chosen a journal article entitled ‘Social Media Sites of Politicians Influence
Their Perception by Constituents’ by Annie Hellweg from Strategic
Communications of Elon University.

 

In this era where
globalization and liberalization is a driving force to the way people live, the
political landscape has evolved like never before. More and more politicians
are becoming aware about the relevance of utilizing the function of Social
Media and Internet to their very best to ensure that they gain a certain
leverage in their political advantage, whether it is the senior politicians or
developing politicians. With that being said, it is safe to say that the
Internet or also known as the new media has benefited the community in many
ways because of its wide extension to the public sphere. The function of the
internet has proven to be a powerful tool of communication which has proven to
change the landscape of the political campaigns. In the journal article of my
choice, the researcher have analyzed how social media has been used by
politicians and acts as a new force that influence the public in various
demographics with a stronger impact, particularly using Facebook and Twitter as
primary research platform.

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R. O’Connor (2012)
stated that the accelerating impact of the Internet and powerful social media
that have begun to dominate its use are now rapidly transforming our political,
commercial and communications environments while profoundly affecting the
future of governance and the very nature of democracy itself. It is further on
how social media has changed the political landscape among interested citizens
in their respective political issues in their countries.

 

 

The basis of
this study was using former president Barrack O’bama as reference. In 2008, In
the United States, former President
Obama officially started his re-election campaign on April 4th, 2011.
He announced it on his Twitter channel. He sent the official email to his
supporters and publicized a video spot in which many people advocated his
re-election. In short, Obama decided to be revolutionary in his political
campaign and organized a massive campaign using the social media as the main
medium. Many critics were skeptical on Obama’s mechanism during the campaign as
they believe that social media would not be an effective platform to attract
voters’ attention. Plus, Twitter was just created at that moment and was still
considered a fresh platform for social media. It has yet to receive the same
amount of recognition that other social media sites like Facebook yet.

 

Many people questioned the usage of Twitter
as they believe that it does not serve as an effective platform to the senior
level citizens who does not have access to social media and they too believe
that the social media users which consists mainly of youths and young adults
were not interested in local politics compared to the adults and senior
citizens. Ironically, this proved them wrong and Obama’s usage of social media
has generated a high level of interest in politics towards the youths and young
adults on the Internet and became a determining factors for him to win the
election against his opponent then, Jonathan McCain. Not only did Obama was the
first African-American President in history, he was also the first person to
fully-utilize the social media usage in his campaign and has revolutionized the
political landscape like never before. Now, many current politicians are
adapting the same approach on their political campaigns and influence strategy.
Most of politicians are trying to replicate what Barrack O’bama used through
the social media tactics

 

In the journal article chosen, the
researcher has pointed out Media Systems Dependency Theory (MSDT) or also known
as Media Dependency Theory to be used to support the research. MSDT was
initially founded by Sandra Ball-Rokeach
and Melvin Defleur in 1976. This theory exists after the advent of traditional
mass media. After the advent of the internet, people were becoming attached to
the new media and vastly used by people throughout the world. As it became a
phenomenon, people seem to more likely dependent on media. Thus, this theory
was created to study the relation. According to www.brittanica.com, media dependency is focused to study the effects of
mass media and its interactions towards users and audience. The theory asserts
that the more a person becomes dependent on the media, the more it becomes
important to that individual, and the media will also have much more power over
that individual, but the degree of dependency is proportional to individual
usage.

 

When the media is able to satisfy the needs of its
audience and users, it will cause them to become more dependent. However if the
media satisfy their needs less, then the dependency will become less. This is
highly related to the social stability. According to Galboa I. and Matsui A.,
social stability is the continuous function that is provided to a specific
group to fulfill their needs and necessity as a society. This can be everyday
life necessity items and also social beliefs, practice and behavior. When the
social stability is disrupted, such as social change, riot, elections, and
conflicts, the audience will have to re-evaluate and make new decisions. During
this time, people in the modern world will be dependent on media because there
is a strong need for information to accommodate the change. Therefore, it is a
gist on how social media functions during elections as it has become a main
source for seeking information in society nowadays.

 

The researcher 
of the journal article chosen also discusses that the MSDT that Facebook
and Twitter has become a common part of how we seek information, socialize,
express opinions, and spend time. In addition, the ease of accessibility
towards these social media have provided users with rewarding interactions
fulfilling their needs and caused it to become more dependent among the public.
The users now are not only not only aware of the elements and information, but
also are able to process them more efficiently. There fore Facebook and twitter
has become a platform for the political figures to disseminate their
influences, and become an effective marketing tool for politicians to build
their deeper ‘relationships’ with the audiences.

 

In my opinion, I do believe and agree on the theory
used by the author. However, I also believe that there is more to it rather
than MSDT. The influence of a political figure does not only resulted from
MSDT. Even though the public nowadays are growing to be dependent towards
social media in particular, it does not mean that the dependency is the cause
of the influence. I would prefer to use the Cultivation Theory (CT) to further
report the study of the researcher.

 

 

 

 

CT was initially founded by George Gerbner in 1999 to
observe how the media was influencing people’s behavior through television as
it was the popular media of choice at that time. According to West and Turner
(2014), individuals which is exposed to high viewing of television are likely
to perceive and belief what they see. With the current existence of new media,
it can be a substituted as an example to explain and prove this theory. Taking
social media as the channel, we can see how people shape and perceive their
political belief because they tend to process information through mediated
sources (social media) rather than direct experience. Campaigns that political
figures practice nowadays are not just to promote themselves, but at the same
time promoting negativity and panting negative perceptions towards their
opponents. Obviously not many or even all people know these political figures
personally, thus their perceptions is shaped on what they see. Political
figures that has most coverage and influence in social media nowadays a more
able to successfully mold the minds of their audience into believing the
messages they sent out. With the marketing and campaigns that political figures
compels through social media, it gradually influences sense of reality towards
their political beliefs over time. As discussed previously, the success is
shown through Barrack O’Bama where he was the most followed political figure
during his campaign, and with that power, he has utilized and cultivated his
audiences to believe him, resulting to his win in the election at that time.