The US political campaigns of 2012 are beginning to peak. The elections are almost around the corner. Both campaigns have already begun hurling filth and toxins back and forth. There’s been one accusation comparing a candidate to Goebbels, which was promptly and properly shouted down by both parties. To me this is politics as normal, except it’s on a hugely accelerated schedule and being played with seemingly limitless cash supplies. One billion dollars in campaign funding is the goal of one campaign. Yes, this is big boy politics, on steroids.
What sets this campaign apart, in my humble opinion, is not the use of social media, but its abuse. In 2008 the Obama campaign made masterful use of social media. It was hip, it was cool, it was where it was happening. The 2012 campaign has all the same, with the addition of paid “commenters” on every social media site and almost every online news source. I can tell its a paid commenter when perfectly formed, logical and excruciatingly detailed arguments, even spelled correctly with properly tabbed columns in many cases, appear in any online article comment section on the Washington Post and almost every other news source I frequent. This is a sign that these arguments have been previously prepared, more than likely tailored by each person in a document to copy and paste into a comment window. I know this because when I try to type out a comment, because the site auto-updates, my comment box is suddenly pushed down once, twice, three times or more before I have a chance to write a brief statement and hit the submit button – each time someone enters a comment this happens. I’m no dummy, but some of these arguments I’m seeing just blow my mind, in their grasp of a highly nuanced issue and details of dates, dollars or who said what, when and where. In the big picture comment sections have become almost meaningless. Comment sections of 5,000 comments or more, within an hour of publication, make me lose faith in any of the comments authenticity.
I have a personal Facebook account which I surf through a couple of times a day. Some folks I know are addicted to Facebook, receiving updates on their smart phone. Sitting and waiting on someone to comment on what you put in your status update is critical for some people’s peace of mind. To me it’s practically obsessive-compulsive behavior, but to others it is a natural evolution of communications. But, more germane to this blog, politics has crept into my Facebook and not in a good way. I expect to see “I support this guy” or “I heart that guy”, but when I see vicious slash and burn invectives spewed out as truth, it chafes me. I’ve had to ‘un-friend’ a couple of people who are actually close to me because of their blind posting of what I considered extremist views, party agnostic. It is interesting, however, to see the comments from friends from all over the country, they seem to mirror the red-blue state map.
LinkedIn seems to have survived most of the political uproar, with the exception of the Special Operations community forums to which I belong. Because the Navy SEAL Team Six supposedly killed bin Laden, there is a uproar over the OPSEC issues, which I have already written about. Now we have a former SEAL writing a tell-all book which contradicts portions of the official releases from the administration, cause for further angst. We also have a movie, supposedly made with the assistance of the White House, but political pressure has delayed its release until after the election.
Which reminds me of a joke: Q: Do you know what burns my butt? A: A flame about this high…
Social media is beginning to burn my butt. Too many overly emotional friends are posting highly biased, extremely questionable and sometimes incoherent skewed ‘facts’, and it just stinks. If you ‘friended’ me on Facebook and post your status, don’t expect me to comment or even notice in a timely fashion. Perhaps not until after the 2012 election.
- Social Media Newsfeed: Democratic Convention | Facebook Likes | Reddit Thrives (socialtimes.com)
- Democrats Like To Mix Politics & Social Media More Than Republicans, Independents [Study] (marketingland.com)
- One Way to Evaluate a Social Campaign (digitalsurgeons.com)
- “Fueling” Social Media (howtosocialnetwork.com)
- Pew survey: U.S. social networking sites have modest political impact (mercurynews.com)
- How to Leverage Paid Tactics in Social Media (greatfinds.icrossing.com)
- Can Social Media Break the Two-Party Political System? (greatfinds.icrossing.com)
- “Convention Without Walls” banks on “cord cutters” (inesmergel.wordpress.com)
- How Social Media is Replacing Traditional Journalism as a News Source (openforum.com)
- In Search For Voters, Campaigns in 2012 Turn to Tech Again: Votizen Provides Politics a New Approach to Social Media (prweb.com)