politics Tag

Social Media Offers Politicians a New Means to Reach Constituencies

Politicians have been devising ways to communicate with the public and reach out to their constituencies since the inception of the democratic system. And while each form of new media has given legislators more opportunities to communicate their manifold messages, the communiqué has often been filtered through reporters and the discourse has been decidedly one-sided. Social media, unlike any previous innovation, has fundamentally changed the way voters glean information about public officials. Not only do candidates now have unbridled access to the electorate, but social media also offers voters a way to voice their opinions in an open forum.

Traditionally, a candidate needed to take out ad space in order to deliver a message that wasn’t filtered through a journalist, and aside from an op-ed piece, there was little opportunity for conversation or to gauge the public response. With social media, however, there is no intermediary or barriers of communication. Politicians now have the capacity to justify why they voted for a piece of legislation, elected a certain cabinet member or any other decision in their own words—and voters have the chance to respond. (more…)

Candidate “Tweets” Run for California Governorship

gavin-newsom-twitterIf you follow hot button political topics such as the legalization of gay marriage, it’s very likely that you know the name Gavin Newsom. Serving as the mayor of San Francisco, Newsom gained notoriety in 2004 when he directed the city-county clerk to begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. The move was a controversial political statement, which, despite being repealed by the Supreme Court of California, helped place Newsom on the larger political radar.

Newsom’s time in office was also marked by a turbulent personal life. He not only admitted abuses of alcohol, but he also admitted an affair with the wife of his campaign manager (and personal friend).

Despite these personal difficulties, Newsom announced on April 21, 2009 that he was throwing his hat into the ring for the California governorship. And while no one was particularly surprised by the move—there were few to no attempts to hide his ambitions towards higher offices—people are abuzz about the method by which he announced this candidacy.
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Political Relevance Depends on Internet

During election years, we all know people who magically become “political experts.” And with the constant inundation of debates, scandal, and mud slinging, it’s no wonder politics has become the constant fodder fueling our water coolers. But is politics the topic de jour only because it’s an election year? Or is there more to it? A recent list of the 25 most influential people on the web seems to suggest there’s a whole lot more.

Ranking in this list are both Arianna Huffington and Jon Stewart. Huffington is the mastermind behind the hugely successful political blog the HuffingtonPost.com, while Stewart is the host of the irreverent news show and associated website TheDailyShow.com.
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