Since the evolution of the Social media, diverse interest has been shifted to evaluating its impact on the social and political systems in the society. Recently, significant social media sites such as Facebook, twitter, youtube, snap chat and among several others have registered billions of users throughout the world who use the social media platform to communicate and engage with each other. The number of people using the social media continues to rise significantly. “More than half of the world’s 2.4 billion Internet users sign in to a social network regularly — a figure that is rapidly increasing” (Omede & Alebiosu, 2015, p. 275). These figures demonstrate that social media carries immense power in influencing public opinion. It also gives the politicians an opportunity to engage with their followers more easily.
Public opinion and decision making
Unlike the traditional media, the social media provides an interactive way of communication where the person sharing out information can receive feedback from the targeted audience through discussion forums supported the social media platforms. The social media such as Twitter Facebook and YouTube have a significant role in contentious political actions. Activists seeking to replace authoritarian regimes consider social media as an essential tool (Kaul, 2012 pg. 2. par 2). In addition to carrying out campaigns, politicians can interact with their follows used the advanced functions supported by social media platforms such as Facebook and tweeter.
Politicians use the information provided by the social media to make decisions when making policies intended for the public. Therefore, politicians have the opportunity to reach more citizens with their agenda which promotes democracy. Also, organizations are also conducting social media surveys to collect essential data from the social media users that are used by organizations that support freedom. However, these opportunities are currently not as advanced in the developing world when compared to the developed world. This is because, in developing countries, there is an enormous barrier to internet access and undeveloped democratic systems (Kaul, 2012 pg. 7, par 5 line 3, 4). Therefore, as these systems develop, more people in the developing countries will have an opportunity to utilize the power of social media to promote democratic activities..sign up to connect with a professional writer
Since the 17th century, the media has played a significant role in deepening democracy. This is especially where the media functions effectively and independently. The media has been used to expose corruption in high places which have helped bring down governments. Examples include the fall of president Fernando color de Mello of Brazil, Carlos Peres of Venezuela, Abdala Bucaram of Ecuador in 1992, 1993, and 1997 respectively(Coronel, 2003 pg. 10 par 1 line 1,2,3,). As the social media technology evolves, this role is widening even more. The social media has played a very significant role in ensuring the success of the political revolutions considering the government censorship conventional media during the uprising to replace the authoritarian regimes. “The new media hails a rebirth of democratic life. It is envisaged that new public spheres will open up and that technologies will permit social actors to find or forge common political interests” Kaul, 2012 pg. 3 line 4, 5). The Arab uprising can serve as a perfect example. During the revolution, the social media served as a tool to inform the world about the happenings of the revolution. The success of the Arab spring revolution in countries like Tunisia and Egypt attribute a large percentage of their success regarding gaining then public support and organizing the public to take part in the revolution to social media.
The green Iranian revolution
The green Iranian revolution is another example where social media played a crucial role in organizing the protesters. The outside world could quickly learn about the progress of the contested presidential election in 2007. Social media was also used by the protesters to rally to support from the citizens in the diaspora. In addition to the Arab spring, social media played a critical role in the green revolution in Iran to overcome the liberal media restrictions imposed by the Iranian government. Using Twitter, the organizers of the protests were able to raise political awareness and also engage more people to participate in the demonstrations as the information posted by activists could be retweeted and reposted across different social media platforms.
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Coronel, S (2003). The role of the media in deepening democracy. NGO Media Outreach.
European Commission (2012). Freedom of Expression, Media, and Digital Communications. Framework Contract Com 2011 – Reinforcing Ec Media Development Capacities. Pp. 5-10.
Kaul, V. (2012). Are new media democratic? Global Media Journal, 5(1), 1-20.
Miswardi, G (2014). Digital-Media-A-Double-Edged-Sword-for-Representative-Democracy. International IDEA’s 20th century anniversary essay competition,
Omede, A.J, and Emmanuel A. (2015). SOCIAL MEDIA: A TREND OR THREAT TO DEMOCRACY? Tran’s campus journal, ISSN 1596-8303. Retrieved from www.transcampus.org/journal; www.ajol.info/journals/jorind. Accessed 3 May 2017.
Unwin, T. (2014, November). Social media and democracy: Critical reflections. In background paper for Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (Colombo) (Vol. 20). Retrieved from http://www. cpahq. org/cpahq/cpadocs/Unwin% 20CPA% 20Social% 20media% 20and% 20democracy. pdf, accessed (Vol. 20).