Written April 25th, 2018.
Social media usage has skyrocketed in recent years, making it all the more important within the world of politics. As of early 2018, the Pew Research Center reports substantial social media usage by most Americans.
68% of Americans reported to use Facebook, 74% of which access the social media website once a day or more.
Social media’s political presence has never been stronger with social media movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo.
Ahn Hee-jung, governor of South Chungcheong Province in South Korea, resigning from his position after a rape accusation by one of his secretaries, Kim Ji-eun, who was inspired by #MeToo.
No other example exemplifies social media’s prevalence as much as the 2016 presidential election. Donald Trump credits his win in the election to his controversial presence on Twitter.
“I wouldn’t be [the President] if it weren’t for social media,” Trump told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo in an October 2017 interview. “So, when someone says something about me… I take care of it, [otherwise] I would never be able to get the word out.”
Carlos Williams, a local to Champaign-Urbana, cites the importance of social media movements within the black community.
“Social media is able to give me a voice on the issues that matter to [African-Americans],” Williams said. “Without Black Lives Matter, I don’t think I would’ve been inspired to find a voice and care about political matters that impact me.”
A study from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology concluded that, as of July 2009, 85% of trending topics on Twitter are current news topics. The group concluded that Twitter fits all the criteria of a “real” news source.
Social media’s representation as frivolous may not be completely true in the world of politics: social media may be the next step to advance journalism’s long political lineage.