New Media’s impact on the world is real and strong. It’s influence is what traditional media was when first created; an eye-opening tool connecting everyone from everywhere. Yet now, it’s instantly. Through social platforms such as Facebook, people are able to let their networks (friends and families) know they are safe in natural disasters or terror attacks, just by clicking the “marked safe” button on the app. That’s as real as it gets.
Everything moves quickly.
One thing that affirms my belief in the new media as the future is something I learnt from the past US presidential election: the power of removing the intermediary–the press. Donald Trump won by changing the game. No longer was it the politician chasing the reporters for coverage, by eliminating intermediation–the media–Trump was able to communicate directly to the American people, to the voters without any need for anyone else. This completely changed how US presidential elections will be from here on out.
Trump’s social media campaigning was so strong, albeit not fact-checked or approved of, the American people felt as if he was speaking directly to them, giving them the non-politician candidate they wanted. He even answered their tweets on occasion. I despise Donald Trump’s politics and demeanor, even though I have to admit that the 2016 election was a beautifully structured (evil) social media master plan.
While traditionally politicians gave interviews, spoke to journalists and tried their best to seem uncorrupt or for “the good of the people”, the journalists would then frame their stories to portray the message in whatever constructed way they want. Turning to Twitter was Trump’s way of skipping all that, of saying whatever he wanted in whatever way he wanted, with no one blocking or controlling the crazy, and somehow the people ate it all up.
New Media, Twitter specifically, is the reason Trump was able to build up such a huge, loud and passionate following; it’s the reason someone many considered an orange baboon managed to get his sweaty, tiny hands on the most powerful office in the world.
The most important thing we take from this must be that this is how elections are going to be played from now on. If the Trump-led alt-right are bypassing the media to get closer to the voters, so must we. We all have access to this powerful tool; yet most of us are not exploiting it to its full potential.
It’s time the resistance realized the power they hold in their hands, we must speak directly, thoughtfully, and from the heart to one another, promoting the values we cherish.
By not engaging in social media to its full capabilities we are choosing to live in a bubble of how things once were, completely ignorant to the new reality of new media. Because new media changes perceptions and perception, in the voting booth and elsewhere, is the new reality.