Is Social Media Bringing Authenticity Into Politics?

Matthias is a graduate student at the Goldman School of Public Policy

What is social media’s impact on modern politics? Could it be that Twitter and Facebook are actually making politics more responsive and more authentic?

I know what you’re thinking, how can a message of 140 characters change politics to become more “authentic”?

But that was a conclusion from Monday’s Matsui Lecture Tweeting Your Way to the White House: Social Media and the 2012 Campaign. The esteemed panelists shared their experiences as consultants and political insiders to explain the dramatic impact social media has had on politics.

And one consequence was making politics more authentic.

The rise of social media means politicians and citizens no longer have to go through central channels to communicate. And perhaps more importantly, social media also enable immediate access to your friends, to your neighbors, and to your network.

With this power, political messaging has been amplified. Grassroots organizing, neighborly dialogues about politics have all increased because of the ease of communication through social media.

And if you want a definite example of how social media impacts politics and participation, just look at President Obama’s fundraising model. Essentially every politician now uses social media as a fundraising tool.

As panelist David All put it, if you want to know the power of social media in politics, just think, can you even imagine any political candidate at any level not having a website, a Facebook page or a Twitter feed? The future of politics most certainly lies within the realm of social media.