By Lisa Payne-Naeger
Sharing of information is probably the most powerful influence there
is among human beings. Perhaps social media giants know this better than
anyone. They’ve made fortunes from their internet empires, collecting
data and luring the public into their information hubs.
Of late we have seen just how these internet moguls have used their
power to control information, and discriminate against those with whom
There is new information out now that may have these social media
power moguls shaking in their shoes. As it turns out, all of their
efforts to control the narrative may be falling short of presumed
desired ends, and it’s fair to ask: Could this lead to an eventual
destruction of their social media dynasties?
Barack Obama’s 2008 election was probably the first time we saw the
power social media had at influencing a nation, politically. You’ve got
to give credit where credit is due. Obama and his team correctly
identified social media as an effective platform with which to reach a
badly needed demographic to put him over the top in his presidential
And President Trump has managed to keep the liberal media in a
tailspin with his use of Twitter to directly reach his audience and
circumvent their ability to spin news coverage.
Over time conservatives awoke to developments and benefits of social media
technology and began to grow in numbers and influences there, only to
be met with roadblocks thrown up by liberal social media giants who
wanted to diminish conservative thought, speech and influence.
Could they have already known what Pew Research
just released in their latest round of polling? Americans are highly
influenced by social media. At least 14 percent will flip on an idea or
previously held beliefs based on what they see on social media
This is certainly something that should have Mark Zuckerberg
and Sundar Pichai worried about their current business strategies
because while 14 percent may not seem like a lot of people, it’s
certainly enough to flip an election — especially if the flip is to the
right. And the research shows the demographics influenced most are
generally those traditionally secure in the liberal camp.
According to the poll, men 18 to 29 are an easier flip than women on
political or social views due to social media influence. Race and
ethnicity reportedly also have a role to play.
“Certain groups, particularly young men, are more likely than others to
say they’ve modified their views because of social media. Around
three-in-ten men ages 18 to 29 (29%) say their views on a political or
social issue changed in the past year due to social media. This is
roughly twice the share saying this among all Americans and more than
double the shares among men and women ages 30 and older (12% and 11%,
“There are also differences by race and ethnicity, according to the
new survey. Around one-in-five black (19%) and Hispanic (22%) Americans
say their views changed due to social media, compared with 11% of
And it’s got to be the data on how those folks flip within their own
parties that is the most troubling to companies, for example, like
Google and Facebook.
“Social media prompted views to change more among Democrats and
Democratic-leaning independents (17%) than among Republicans and
Republican leaners (9%). Within these party groups, there are also some
differences by gender, at least among Democrats. Men who are Democrats
or lean Democratic (21%) are more likely than their female counterparts
(14%) to say they’ve changed their minds. However, equal shares of
Republican and Republican-leaning men and women say the same (9% each).”
reported last year that 67 percent of Americans get their news through
social media. That’s a huge percentage of the population focused on a
targeted information source. Is it any wonder why social media giants
are fighting conservative speech to the degree with which we see today?
Can you imagine what kind of damage a message like #WalkAway could do to the progressive narrative from someone like Brandon Straka
, a former liberal?
Straka started the social media #WalkAway movement this year after he
left the Democratic Party. The young, formerly liberal male speaks
quite effectively to the left about why liberal agendas have fallen
short of their promises because he walked lockstep within its platform
his entire life. Now he’s using social media to get that message out to
the 29 percent of men and 18 percent of women who are black, hispanic
and white before the midterms in November.
His Facebook page has grown to more than 75,000 followers in just a few months and a grassroots movement has expanded to Canada. All this, through the power of social media.
I’m going to go out on a limb here to guess this isn’t quite what
Zuckerberg planned when he started Facebook. But here’s hoping the
latest polling results and campaigns like #WalkAway are a bigger
testament to the power of American exceptionalism than it is to social
media influence and power.