How the Internet is changing the election scene

In this modern era, new technology is customizing the scenes of all kinds of domains. But with Twitter, Facebook, Google, and other kinds of social media, the variations in the political scenes are more detectable.

Facebook: a manipulative tool?

A new article appeared in The New Republic which describes how Facebook is manipulating a Democratic election without the public being aware. In the article, political scientists sought to measure whether peer pressure could induce voting behavior via an online platform. The sample of users on Facebook was divided into two subsamples. One group saw graphics indicating that their friends voted and allowed users to indicate that they voted. The other subsample saw no graphics. The researcher found that the Facebook users who saw that their friends voted were statistically more likely to cast ballots themselves.

Search engines conquer undecided voters

In a new study, "The search engine manipulation effect (SEME) and its possible impact on the outcomes of elections," Robert Epstein and Ronald E. Robertson from Princeton University have found that undecided voters are more likely to say they will choose a political candidate only after they see websites about that candidate appear among the first hits in a list of search-engine results.

Twitter's revolution

Twitter has transformed the way candidates interact with their voters. They are now speaking directly to the public via social channels, and everyday people are using as many outlets to share and debate their political views.

On the other hand, social media is an uncontrolled, democratized tool where individuals can spread opinions that are not always authentic, which can change the public’s view of a candidate overnight.

Politicians under surveillance

During an election, new technology allows the media to put the candidates under the microscope. Social media runs in real time and with the variety of channels, from Twitter to YouTube, the words of political candidates are replayed, dissected and played again. Once something hits the web, it lives online forever.

New virtual campaigns

With the rise of big data and analytics, candidates can now understand much more about what is working and what is not in their campaigns. With this information, campaigns become more effective and can be tailored to garner the votes, funds or public opinion needed from a particular region or constituency.

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