The Danger of Facebook/Twitter Politics

Web PoliticsWesley Donehue writes on CNN:

I make a living encouraging politicians and candidates to use social media.

And now I’m going to tell them why it’s a bad idea.

Not always, mind you — social media will, and should, continue to play an important role in our political discourse. But the trend has grown so quickly; I don’t know that anyone has really stopped to consider the implications of moment-by-moment, real-time transparency.

I would argue that what we’ve gotten is a trade-off, and the jury is still out on whether what we’ve lost is worth more than what we’ve gained in the process.

So before I go about the process of destroying my company’s business model, let’s talk about what we’ve gained with social media.

Read More: CNN

27 Comments on "The Danger of Facebook/Twitter Politics"

  1. Jin The Ninja | Apr 24, 2012 at 10:17 pm |

    basically the author’s premise is that social media is OVERLY democratic, and because of the fact america is a republic, democracy of a kind should ONLY be handled by your elected representative.  to quote,

    “we don’t live in a democracy. We never have, nor should we. We live in a
    republic, where we elect people to take the tough votes and make the
    tough decisions for us. And quite honestly, politicians should
    have some level of flexibility to cast votes that — gasp — we might
    not like, without their every action becoming a referendum via Twitter
    and Facebook.”

    well i guess we know how politicos, technocrats and oligarchs feel about true democracy.

    • Hadrian999 | Apr 24, 2012 at 10:44 pm |

       anyone who takes a long hard look at the electorate will have a dim view of democracy

      • Jin The Ninja | Apr 25, 2012 at 12:35 am |

        politicians (generally) arise from the same demographic as the electorate, and i have an equally dim view of them.

        • Hadrian999 | Apr 25, 2012 at 1:42 am |

           in theory but generally it is from the upper tier or people from lower classes that have transcended their station, you will rarely see true members of the illiterati among power players

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 25, 2012 at 2:38 am |

            true. in that i completely agree, and was thinking about that as i posted my above comment. still they deserve scorn- perhaps more.

      • Paraphrasing Churchill?

    • Mr Willow | Apr 24, 2012 at 11:37 pm |

      It is only natural—true democracy threatens their place of authority. It is in their interest to tell the public that democracy is a bad thing. 

      • But what is one to do about the collaterally damaged people who are deeply convinced of disinformed perspectives.

        I always kinda struggled with the moral realities of the unwitting victims of misinformation and uneducation, because to some degree education does not work, yet the fault does not directly lie with them. It seems like a preemptive safeguard against true democracy: stupify the masses to force anyone with a right mind to fear the results of it coming to pass.

        • Mr Willow | Apr 27, 2012 at 7:00 am |

          That is not an easy fix—I don’t even know if there is a fix. 

          I could say that it would lie on the educators (if you will) to inform others with sound information. But that is difficult, since inevitably there would come an educator with a bias of some sort, and no matter the intent on remaining objective, it would come through. 

          It becomes worse when you have an educator that seeks to implant their bias in the minds of the would-be educated (which is more what I think you are referencing). In that instance, there is very little that can be done, in my opinion, other than to present information (hopefully) free from bias—or, since bias is a difficult, if not impossible, thing to be free from, as free as possible. This becomes even more difficult when aformentioned “educator” brands their clear bias as being “fair and balanced,” because then people absorbing that information will have that as a justifier for their views. It is a false justifier—since all or most labelling of the quality of information should come from outside the individual or group providing it. If at all possible, it should come from the originator of the information—i.e. the formulator of an idea, the people involved in an act, etc. etc.—but then you always have the possibility of misrepresentation of events or deception in regard to espousal. 

          It is one of the more vexing problems of our “Information Age”—what information should be trusted. 

    •  > we elect people to take the tough votes and make the tough decisions for us

      I think he misspoke
      I think he meant to say
      we elect people to take the tough votes and make the tough decisions for the
      Military-Industrial-Bankster Complex

      since when is choosing between voting for one of two elite sponsored candidates
      different from voting for only one elite sponsored candidate
      or not voting at all?

      • Jin The Ninja | Apr 25, 2012 at 2:45 am |

        it’s no different than either. personally, i’d rather call western political systems by their true name than blaspheme the integrity of ‘democracy’ by referring to those systems as such.

        • Eric_D_Read | Apr 25, 2012 at 11:35 am |

          Interesting that you speak so highly of direct, populist democracy.

          How do you reconcile that with the fact that, in a direct public vote, things like civil rights, gay marriage and most humanitarian projects get voted down?

          Would you still hold it in such high regard if you knew going in that, in the U.S. at least, direct democracy resulted in a complete christian fascist takeover?

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 25, 2012 at 1:24 pm |

            why is it interesting? i am a political and social anarchist- direct democracy being one of the major tenets of the ideology. direct democracy could not equate fascism because it is based on de centralised autonymous regions and an anti capitalist framework (as well as opposed to the notion of nation-states). fascism or neo-fascism cannot inherently fit into that model of governance. not to mention would have to be based on an agreed upon codification of human and environmental rights.

          • Hadrian999 | Apr 25, 2012 at 4:23 pm |

            because a real democracy is the tyranny of the majority and, you aren’t the majority so supporting  real democracy without “elitist” constraints would be suicidal for you.

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 25, 2012 at 8:12 pm |

            i don’t really see the framework of my ideology to be ‘constrained’- i see it as recognising the rights and dignity that we all should have. so in that way i see it as ‘liberated’ from the constraints of representative politics. but neither do i believe that democracy is tyranny- well perhaps when filtered through a capitalist-imperialist lens, but in any of its consensus or grassroots incarnations i see it as organic.

          • Hadrian999 | Apr 25, 2012 at 8:31 pm |

            that only works when all, or at least a majority agree, what happens when your democracy is populated with people that think anyone outside the mainstream should have no rights at all.

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 25, 2012 at 10:01 pm |

            but isn’t that what the one party of two (dems and republicans) have been doing the last 25 years? diminishing rights and affording privilege? abandoning the rule of law in favour of the almighty dollar? neglecting the sovereignty of nation-states in favour of imperialism through military interventionism? the body politic is diseased and corrupt. i can’t possibly see salvaging such a broken system,

          • Hadrian999 | Apr 25, 2012 at 10:42 pm |

             the problem I see with anarchism and libertarianism is that without strong institutions there is nothing at all to prevent a new breed of robber barons from rising, anarchists talk about equality and morality but unless people are universally moral and honorable such a system would only be an accelerated version of what we have now.

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 26, 2012 at 7:07 am |

            it’s an interesting discussion nonetheless and i appreciate that we can have it. i think, that institutions, founded on hierarchy, are prone to corruption as we can clearly see, whether political or religious, with the people at the top exerting their power to both maintain and gain power. i think institutions are much more difficult to deconstruct once they’ve entrenched themselves in society. i see the people in representative politics as leaders of corruption, both generating and drawing from their institutional power. i really believe democratic assemblies would work, i think education and an acceptance of certain humanist ideals would allow for organic democracy to flourish.

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 26, 2012 at 7:09 am |

            this is a good point actually. i think you cannot have direct or consensus democracy without a clear codification of rights, and a rejection of the prevailing economic and political forms that have led us to this place.

          • but will this codification of rights be supplied by elites(albeit benevolent,ish)? or can we trust that it will be democratically achieved with the current electorate.

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 27, 2012 at 11:42 am |

            no elites in my model. delegates perhaps. i would be very happy to ‘borrow’ UN conventions: on human rights, the environment and women/glbtq and combine them in some way. I think democratic assemblies even in the US, are surprisingly successfull, i think my model is dependent on a free indie press and a good education (which as you noted in post to Mr. Willow is often not enough). I have to be honest and say,’ i’m not sure, if i do trust the cureent electorate’ but if given the right tools and context i am very willing to try.

    • I don’t see how those two things are mutually exclusive. Yes, we want our representatives to show leadership and, on some occasions, buck popular opinion…but we would also expect them to do so openly, and be willing and able to articulate their reasons for doing so. It doesn’t do any good if all the “tough decisions” are being made in back-rooms. 

  2. it’s all about social clout, people think you’re an intellectual contender only if you root for the leading candidates and laugh based on the mainstream popularity of who you believe in rather then what they say, like in ron paul

  3. > I make a living encouraging politicians and candidates

    thanks for the disclaimer
    is that phrase another euphemism for pimp?

  4. Of course we should be careful about political posting. This infographic shows data about unfrieninding for political posts and the relationship between company stocks and their facebook likes: Pretty surprising statistics!

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