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 they disagree.
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 race.
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.
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
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%, respectively).”“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 whites.”
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).”
Breitbart 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.