Social Media: Playing a Role in Politics

With the passing of Margaret Thatcher, many civilians and politicians herald her as a trailblazer as the first female Prime Minister of England.

Yet, several protests have already happened and many are set to happen when Thatcher is laid to rest this coming Wednesday. Unlike protests in pre-Twitter eras, social media plays a prominent role.

+Officials are currently combing social sites to preempt any possible protests or disturbances.

+From Yahoo News: Online campaign expert David Karpf noted that this is “a new kind of protest enabled by social media — a way for people to signal protest en masse without shouting from the rooftops.”

Social media’s influence in the political arena will only continue to grow as its usage rises. Here are a few recent political events in which social media has played a leading role.  

Civic Activities and Causes

A report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project noted that “the use of social media is becoming a feature of political and civic engagement for many Americans.”

The study found that roughly two-thirds of U.S. adults who use social media sites like Twitter and Facebook “conducted either civil or political activity through this communication channel.”

Egyptian Protest

In January 2011, social media mobiled thousands of Egyptians in an effort to overthrow Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. With the help of Facebook and videos on YouTube, media on these outlets spurned an Egyptian revolution.

Presidential Elections

Many thought the 2012 presidential election could be predicted via social media. Reports after the election noted that Twitter sentiment for election result was split.

Although the data was mixed on social media’s ability to predict an outcome, it is notable that the most popular tweet of 2012 was from President Barak Obama immediately before he took the stage to announce his election victory. His “four more years” tweet was retweeted over 800,000 times and favorited over 300,000 times.


 Question: How has social media reframed your political landscape?