The influence of social networks on political life

Different changes and developments in social media are causing effects linked to changes or developments in our civic and political culture. Our political culture is in a constant state of change. In today’s society, everything revolves around social media. It’s become a part of our culture. Social media has literally become a lifestyle for some people. Social media will somehow always affect political culture. We can’t control every one’s opinion or what they are putting out there. We cannot control what is being liked, shared, retweeted etc.

One of the many social media practices or trends accompanying in the development in political culture is “slacktivism”. “Slacktivism” or “armchair activism” (Seay 2014) is when people use social to media to express and support their beliefs and political opinions. They want to get attention for a particular cause and rely on social media for it to spread. These people fail or slack to make sure their information is correct. Slacktivists may not be as involved or as committed as some people are about political culture; but they are still participating by using social media. “According to Penney (2017), people feel they are contributing, while substituting for political participation”. There is no strain what so ever for these participants. They just do one click to like or share on Facebook or one retweet or favorite on Twitter and they have done their job. They feel as if they helped to support whatever cause they believe in by constantly sharing posts on social media platforms.

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Another social media practice or trend accompanying in the development in political culture is media manipulation. Media manipulation is when radicalized groups target the vulnerabilities in the media to gain support for themselves and the audiences exposed to the message for their personal benefits (Media Manipulation & Disinformation Report). Because these radicalized groups use the internet to gain exposure, this is called ideology. They are very manipulative and motivated through money and status. These groups tend to be far-right online groups who use their money to publish fake news that support their beliefs. The reading Media Manipulation & Disinformation Report talks about how John Podesta Gmail account got hacked. Emails flooded the internet and allegations spread. They used this information in the public eye and manipulated the information. It also talks about how a pro-Trump group also manipulated the media to promote populist messages. They then became memes, shared on Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and YouTube. Whether you agree or disagree with the view or belief, the interactions help these media manipulators gain exposure.

Political polarization is also a social media practice or trend accompanying in the development in political culture but it is not to blame. Political polarization is when someone’s views or beliefs become stronger. If you are a liberal; your views become more liberal. If you are conservative; your views become more conservative. Social media is spreading news but most Americans still receive news through traditional outlets (Oremus 2017). Online media isn’t completely to blame for political polarization. The only role political polarization is taking part in is when political opinions are being shared, liked, or retweeted on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. These people with intense opinions feel passionate enough to share their thoughts and beliefs with the world on these social media platforms. It’s tough to blame social media entirely for America’s politically polarized environment (Soregel 2017). Echo chambers and filter bubbles are more so to blame. We are less likely to engage with people that we disagree with which creates a filter bubble. An echo chamber also filters what people want and don’t want to see.

Another social media practice or trend accompanying in the development in political culture is hate speech. Social media platforms such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook are trying to determine what constitutes hate speech. This has been an ongoing process for the past 20 years. Facebook has been receiving criticism for posts that have created violence in some countries. They will be removing misinformation that could lead to anyone being physically harmed or injured (Frenkel 2018). Facebook is struggling to find a balance of what type of false information to remove. Google and Twitter are in the same boat. Google is being questioned as to if removing hate speech is leading free speech is being suppressed. Google is banning sites whereas Twitter just removes the actual tweet. According to the article on Forbes, just the government can’t prevent you from freedom of speech. Private corporation such as Twitter, do not have to follow that amendment (Klonick 2016). With that being said, Twitter can remove whatever they feel is a form of hate speech.

Participatory politics is also a social media practice or trend accompanying in the development in political culture. Participatory politics is when people engage in current politics around them. Today’s technology allows us to participate with a click of a mouse; literally. Common sites used to engage in participatory politics include Facebook and Twitter. These platforms allow for people to get their opinions and beliefs out way before the election even takes place. With that being said, it is good for citizens to participate but media tends to leak false information; especially regarding politics. Media has the power to ruin anyone reputation or in this instance, politicians.

In conclusion, I believe all of the arguments presented above have in some shape or form influenced political culture. Social media is a part of our culture in today’s society and with that comes the obstacle of political culture being in a constant state of change.

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The influence of social networks on political life. (2022, Nov 23). Retrieved from