Politics of the Future: Digital and Social Media

What if President Obama held press conferences not in the White House, but on Google Hangout? What if he answered questions asked by the American people, rather than the news correspondents? Earlier this month India’s Finance Minister P Chidambaram did just that. The minister participated in a live video conference that lasted hour, but the conference sparked conversations that lasted quite longer (e.g. #askthefm).

“People have been calling this era of computers, the Internet, and telecommunications the ‘information age’ … What we’re really in now is the empowerment age…This power is shifting…to a new paradigm of power that is democratically distributed and shared by all of us.” – Joe Trippi, author of Revolution Will Not be Televised

President Obama's current Facebook banner.

President Obama’s current Facebook banner.

Today everyone and everything is going social. Barack Obama and Fançois Hollande are on Facebook, and even The White House, the WTO, and the United Nations tweet.Digital media has become a new form of infrastructure. The United Kingdom offers virtual tours of Parliament buildings. The EU website has an Audiovisual Newsroom. Online presence is a public expectation.

The virtual world has a very real influence.The last two years proved digital and social media’s power to mobilize entire nations (i.e. revolutions in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Syria). Minister Chidambaram’s conference is further evidence of a growing desire to not only pay attention to the man (or woman) behind the curtain, but to eliminate the curtain altogether.


Facebook, Connecting You with the World

I bet if someone told you ten years ago that in the future there would become a way for you to keep in touch with old friends, advertise personal and business events, create groups related to anything from your personal to professional interests and express yourself in various other ways all while having the option to be search engine optimized you would have looked at them like they were from another planet.  Most of you are probably already familiar with the continuously growing website, Facebook. What makes this website so unique is that it is geared toward almost everyone. Whether you are a young adult, college student or business professional Facebook can benefit you in an uncountable amount of ways.

It takes about five minutes to create an account on Facebook and then you are opened up to a world of communication. Once you create an account you have the option to find friends and family members and request to see their profiles, you can upload pictures, send messages to others, post upcoming events, create a description of yourself for others to see, and add various applications for fun or for a cause. 

Facebook for young adults usually has more of a social aspect to it. Young adults usually are more concerned with chatting with friends, finding new ones, uploading pictures, posting events or making groups. Facebook for business professionals or adults is more involved in connecting with old friends, establishing networking connections or posting upcoming business events.

Facebook is a communication tool for the future. Throughout the years it has gradually gained more and more interest in all age groups. Facebook is an extremely useful form of digital media that simplifies keeping in touch with people. There are few downsides to Facebook, however privacy is always a concern. Although you do have the option to keep your profile private someone always has the opportunity to check up on you through someone you are friends with. Many times business professionals will find ways to go in and view your facebook profile before they decide whether they are going to hire you. This is why you should protect yourself. I would suggest this old fashioned rule of thumb: don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandma to see or read. Most of the time if you follow this rule whatever you post or upload to your Facebook will not be incriminating (note: there are always exceptions to the rule).

Organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Greenpeace International, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), RSPCA ( Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), Unicef, Rock the Vote, Green, PBS, The Campaign for Breast Cancer Research and various others all have created public groups on Facebook. Not only organizations, but almost every college has hundreds of groups associated with their school such as clubs, organizations, academic programs, academic departments and more.

Facebook is an extremely popular form of digital media and is universal to anyone with an internet connection. No matter where in the world you are or what you are doing you have the ability to keep in touch with others. This beneficial form of social media will only continue to evolve and attract more people as time progresses.