Chad joined the crew of Major League Liberty on Monday night to discuss his recent article on the 2020 election and if a Democrat will be able to successfully use social media to face the “Tweeter-in-Chief” Donald Trump. Dr. Whittle’s interview starts at 8:43 in the video. Read Chad’s article here
Future Political Power Belongs To Those That Tweet. Social Media is the Daisy Ad of 21st Century Politics
This may come as a surprise to many, but President Trump and Barack Obama have one thing in common when it comes to how they won the White House: Twitter. Unlike their competition, both men understood our modern culture and how important and influential social media is. This is something John McCain, Mitt Romney or Hillary Clinton never understood.
McCain, Romney, and Clinton all ran campaigns that would’ve had a better chance of success about 30 years ago. Each candidate never focused their main media efforts on social media. They instead went with a traditional campaign by hitting the campaign trail and talking with local residents, buying TV ad time, participating in debates and scheduling interviews on cable news shows. I’m not saying you shouldn’t still do those things for the 2020 election because each is still important to the success of your campaign. However, none of those efforts can drive the conversation about your campaign like social media can.
Looking at the ages of McCain, Romney, and Clinton compared to Obama you could simply say it’s just a generational thing that the younger Obama knew and understood more about social media’s power than his Baby Boomer opponents. However, 72-year-old Trump blows up that argument.
Like Obama, Trump’s team had a keen understanding on not just the power and influence of social media but how to use it to control the narrative and drive the national conversation. No one could ever be better at this than Trump. He is the Twitter master.
With one simple meme or Tweet, Trump during his campaign and now will receive countless hours of coverage on cable news shows and in newspapers across the country. Most days the traditional media no longer drives the daily political narrative, but instead it is merely reacting to what has occurred on social media.
According to Axios, newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is now second to Trump on total Twitter interactions defined as retweets and likes. This is why you recognize her name. There are other first-term Senators, but how many of them can you name? Unlike her, they have not mastered or understand the power of social media.
There is a growing debate among Congress and the political pundit class on whether the Trump administration should consider breaking up the tech titans or if Congress should pass new regulations on Facebook, Google, Twitter and just for the fun of it, I’ll mention MySpace in this conversation as well. Yes, MySpace still exists. No, I don’t know anyone who uses it.
While freedom of speech issues on social networks and the possible breaking up of the Silicon Valley giants are both topics of great importance, the mental health issues that are being caused by social media use is equally as important.
Recent studies report a rise in levels of anxiety and depression among teenage and young adult users of social media. The BBC reported on a study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior that found participants who said they use seven or more social networks were more than three times as those that use between zero-two platforms to have higher levels of general anxiety symptoms.
A study in the Clinical Psychological Science journal with a sample of over 500,000 U.S. adolescents in grades 8-12, found that between 2010-2015 there was an increased rate of depressive symptoms and suicide-related outcomes among those who spent more time on social media and smartphones with these participants reporting more mental health issues than those that spent time on non-screen activities.
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology discussed the growing trend of people seeking surgery to make their face be more appealing for selfies. In 2017, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found that 55 percent of surgeons mentioned having patients that were seeking surgery procedures due to social media.
These are just some of the many recent academic and mainstream press stories on the growing trend of mental health issues due to social media use. However, none of this should come as a surprise.
If you have spent any time on a social media platform, then you have encountered someone that is obsessed with likes, swipes and follows. Or, maybe you are the person that is spending hours per day trying to become social media famous.
This is not healthy behavior as research and common sense continues to prove. We have a generation of fame-obsessed teens and college students that I am afraid are becoming only more infatuated with fleeting social media fame. This behavior could be not only bad for their mental health but their physical health as well. If you browse YouTube, you’ll find videos of teenagers trying very dangerous stunts in an attempt to go viral.
The next time Congress holds hearings concerning social media and freedom of speech on these platforms and regulation, I hope Senators will also hold the wizards of Silicon Valley’s feet to the fire concerning their highly addictive products.
It’s not all Mark Zuckerberg’s fault. Healthy behaviors should start at home and in schools, but it’s time social media companies do more to help turn the tide of mental health issues that their products are no doubt partially contributing to in young adults.
Helping teens and young adults have less mental health issues is something we all can give a thumbs up to.
Facebook is a mess right now.
The Mark Zuckerberg social giant is currently in the middle of multiple controversies that range from top executives leaving the company, to privacy concerns among a multitude of users, to talks of investigations into antitrust violations from Capitol Hill.
It seems the company is getting it from all sides and that many are wanting to “unfriend” them.
From a user standpoint, fixing Facebook isn’t as complicated as it may seem.
In fact, it’s a very simple solution.
Facebook users are becoming increasingly concerned with what personal data the company is obtaining and for what purposes they are using their data.
If Facebook wants to calm user’s fears, the social network should give users greater control over how their data is used. This would include providing more controls over how their data is used for advertising purposes and provide more opt-in and opt-out policies for consumers that would allow them to decide how their data is used.
Another move the company should make is to offer paid subscription options that provide users with an ad-free experience and also allows no data collection whatsoever by the social site. In addition, with a higher tier subscription plan, the site could offer a more encrypted experience for users to help protect their data better.
Not only would subscription tiers be great PR for the company to show they’re concerned about their user’s data, it would also help make up for loss revenue from their declining advertising business.
A report on Fast Company reports consumption time on Facebook was down from 16.5% in September 2017 to 14.3% in September of this year. The less people log onto Facebook, the less time they are seeing display ads resulting in a decline in revenue. However, the site is still second to only Google in digital consumption, so it’s not time to panic yet if you’re a Facebook investor. The company is still making billions.
To help stop accusations of political bias, Zuckerberg should show goodwill by creating a board that includes leaders from both the right and the left that meets to help discuss and put into practice policies that make sure all voices are heard fairly on the platform.
Facebook is a company in crisis on many fronts, but it’s silly to think the tech behemoth will suddenly disappear like MySpace. The company is almost too big to fail at this point and is too ingrained in our daily lives and culture for there to be a mass revolt of users away from the platform.
However, there are changes that the company can and should make in order to turn the ship around before it enters into uncharted tech territories that could eventually sink it because history has proven that even some of the world’s largest corporations can hit a financial iceberg and go down like the Titanic.