Social Media & Celebrity Politics

Politics has been extremely prevalent in 2016, with the Australian election, the UK ‘Brexit’ and the impending American election. The American’s who are so loud, and even vulgar, in their battle, seem to flourish in the lime light more than anyone else, especially the big guy (yes you guessed it Trump).

What is interesting, is a shift in dynamic, with social media presenting a third media platform to circulate a different political context that includes behind the scene images, tweets, it provides a space for politicians to further showcase their humanity (Ekman & Widholm, 2014, p. 519).

Politicians physically address hundreds and thousands of people by taking the stage, this performance is driven through traditional news media, in addition society now connects on a separate level – the digital arena consisting of platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Often in real-time messages on Twitter for example politics are rarely mentioned, the simple essence of celebrity and the sharing personal moments to encourage the feeling of knowing somebody who you have never met is a phenomenon (Ekman & Widholm 2014, p. 519).

Of course, it is not new for policitians to promote personally promote themselves through traditional media, however the ‘meta-process of life-style’ is accelerated by social media (Ekman & Widholm 2014, p. 519). Real time comments and therefore inclusion on what is happening, the essence of not missing out is engrossing society, for example The Age of the Selfie, as per Hillary’s image below.

Hilary selfie 2

Photo credit: Barbera Kinney for Hillary for America

As Ekman and Widholm (2014, p. 520) assert Twitter enhances narcissistic tendencies whereby communication in the political arena becomes the promotion of personalised identities friendly branding. A significant question is, who is the driving force behind this phenomenon?

Social is social, tweets, likes, red hearts are driven by us, voters, consumers, students and parents. People love people. We then, appear to be the driving force behind celebrity, we want to be fed behind the scene snippets and personalised information.

However, the direction of relations between politicians and journalists through the rise in social media has been significantly challenged, we now have political actors who can communicate on their own terms, journalists no longer have the ‘monopoly over public information’ (Ekman & Widholm, 2015, p. 80)

Present day politics involves a ‘mediatized interdependency’ between journalists and politicians whereby they need one another to get their job done (Ekman & Widholm, 2015, p. 81). It will be interesting to further watch their relationship unfold further, and to consider, do politicians now have even more power?

The initiation of government blogs shifts away from traditional journalistic media, the White House Blog for example promotes policies and campaigns prolifically, all of which are presented in a positive light.

The White House Blog

Consequently, are we now subject to an abundance of news and information that is not challenged, and is potentially biased through the various platforms of social media we operate from?

The implications are clear, celebrity and social media is a driving force changing the structural political landscape through citizen relations (Ekman & Widholm 2014, p. 520). Next time we see Trump making his wild statements whilst scrolling through our news feed, realise he is there because we want him there! Crazy, I know.

References: 

Ekman, M & Widholm, A 2015, ‘Politicians as media producers, current trajectories in the relation between journalists and politicians in the age of social media’, Journalism Practice, vol. 9, no.1, pp. 78-91.

Ekman, M & Widholm, A 2014, ‘Twitter and the celebritisation of politics’, Celebrity studies, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 518-520.

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17 thoughts on “Social Media & Celebrity Politics

  1. Well done on exploring where politics and social media collide. It is a huge topic and very relevant.

    I agree that social media has brought politicians closer to their constituents and provides a level of accessibility that we have not experienced before. However, with the first ever debate via Facebook being held during the recent Australian federal election, do you think that social media can exclude some voters at times or do you think it is the best way for politicians to connect with younger voters?

    Social media is undoubtedly a powerful tool in a politician’s arsenal, but in the hands of someone like Donald Trump, social media can also be a very dangerous weapon enabling rapid dissemination of hate and misinformation.

    The change in relationship between politicians and journalists with the advent of social media is often forgotten. I enjoyed the way you included this in your broader discussion. Great job!

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  2. Great post! I’m not entirely across politics, I’ve just never been interested – this was a great little insight to how times are changing and the influence we now have online. Great list of citations there too buffering your statements. Maybe you could have a tweet of you’re own in your next one 🙂 Molly

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  3. Hey Somediablogger,
    A great read. Nice use of links and images. I love the way you have substantiated your view. You are so right in that social media is changing the face of traditional media and journalism. I was watching ABC last week and they were doing a story on how traditional journalists are finding it so hard to get good stories and content now days due to the power of social media. Might be something that you could blog about next!
    BR

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  4. Very interesting blog, politics is definitely going crazy right now! The tweets/images you use are positioned really well in the text to reinforce what you’re saying. Great ending sentence – definitely made me laugh. And excellent use of scholarly sources! Perhaps one or two extra images or media would be useful, and Tweets from yourself. For the ‘White House Blog’, I would hyperlink the italicised words instead of having a separate paragraph for the hyperlink.

    And just for assessment, have a re-check of Adam’s guidelines for image captions (i.e. need to include creative commons license) and the Harvard style referencing for in-text citations (i.e. no comma between the author and date). Great blog, great topic, I’m curious to see how the American election plays out!

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  5. Hi SoMediaBlogger! Great Post! My knowledge of politics isn’t exactly up to scratch, but I think you did an awesome job of tackling a heavy subject in a way that was informative and engaging! Makes me think twice about how our actions on social media can change the political landscape! The media you used played a wonderful role in supporting your writing. The Trump tweet made me laugh! In the paragraph under the Malcolm Turnbull tweet, you have the word promote twice in the first sentence- just thought i’d mention in case it was a typo! Awesome work!

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  6. Hi Hayley – great post! I follow politics, both Australian and US, pretty closely on social media. If anything, Twitter has made me much more engaged politically! It’s interesting to see how individual politicians use the platform seeing as it’s become a strong PR tool for them outside of traditional media as you mentioned.

    The way you’ve used media is great – it would be even better to see a little more though! Maybe a hero image to headline the piece and some tweets from yourself. Perhaps you could replace the White House Blog hyperlink with a tweet of your own, still including the link but saying a little bit about it. Perhaps give the piece a quick proof for comma usage as well but that could just be me nit-picking. Overall an interesting piece, well done!

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  7. A very engaging and interesting blog post, Hayley.

    Politics is certainly a complicated subject, and its often compounded by the fact that the language (or narrative as we understand it) is changing thanks to social media. I often feel like social media has created an illusion of personability and honesty while in reality offering none of it. It’s why I think someone like Trump is successful, because he appears ‘straightforward and honest’, Twitter allows for such precise and concise communication that his language appears definitive and especially strong to followers. It feels like just another tool for politicians to capitalize on, effectively utilizing their medium for their own will.

    As for the content of your blog post, the digital content is good and integrated well, it might be worth in the future adding some of your own content (tweets, images, whatever they might be) to add an extra level of personality/authenticity to it.

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  8. Hi somemediablogger, yours is an extremely well formulated blog post. Politics is something that I follow extremely closely, especially in country – India. With a population of over 1.2 billion and growing usage of smartphones resulting increasing use of social media, usage of the same becomes extremely critical in winning elections. Our current Prime Minister – Mr. Modi is a prime example of that.
    I would just like to add that apart from playing an instrumental role in winning elections social media also can prove to be destructive, one wrong move or one wrong post could lead to a catastrophe due to the reach of social media. Social media is as much dangerous as it is helpful.

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  9. Hey Hayley.
    I am never interested in politics, but since the current Indonesian president, Joko Widodo used it for his presidential campaign and managed to engage with young people in Indonesia (of course it was influenced by Obama’s 2008 campaign), it makes politics seem a little easier to understand.
    I agree that we are the ones who feed ourselves and other people with tons of information via social media. Whether or not that information is trustworthy is another problem that the Internet is yet to solve. I guess it depends on the readers if they do want to know the truth and dig a little deeper. There is always Google to do that.
    I am amazed by how writing in small paragraphs works great to your layout and looks very appealing to me, personally. Maybe you could use some of your own Tweets to make it more personal. Good work!

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  10. While I’m inclined to agree with your argument that we as a community are behind the rise of celebrity politics, it’s nonetheless a big claim to make. This is a good opportunity for you to cite a study or statistic that backs up your position.

    I also agree with your conclusion, but your argument was at times disjointed and difficult to follow. For example, you mentioned that journalists no longer have monopoly over public information, yet in the following paragraph you contradict that position by saying politicians and journalists need each other.

    I’d argue that the rise of social media has imbalanced that power dynamic. In ages past the only way for a politician to be noticed in the public sphere was through the manipulation of the mass media. Now they can interact directly with constituents via Twitter, which as a medium rewards outlandish behaviour.

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  11. Politics is amongst the hottest topics on social and digital media all over the world. Everyone has their own opinion, thoughts, parties and leaders they follow. In context of Brexit and US political presence on Twitter is hyperactive and often used for polling. I agree with the point that the leaders are using it in a smart way by posting pictures and videos with the general public in making the lucrative profile over digital media. Some tweet or pics of Brexit and Politics could have helped in making strong evidence, and personally I like the selection of academics for this topic.

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  12. I love this topic! It’s so interesting to see how politicians are using platforms such as Twitter to reach the public, as they couldn’t have done this in the past. Trump was a great example of how Twitter can be exploited and how he is re-defining how politicians react with his followers. In your next post, maybe show a few more examples of how each politician is using social media to run campaigns and how they differ? Also some sentence structure show be looked at but apart from that I thoroughly enjoyed your blog post!

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    1. Hey Hayley!

      Personally i’m not a big fan of politics but due to the rise of politicians and political campaigns bursting on social media it’s really hard to ignore. It’s really interesting seeing how most politicians are creating an online identity, positively it allows us to get to know their personal side. Digital presence is still a little bit tricky to get a grasp on until now I still have a hard time to decide whats honest and whats staged.

      I like your closing statement, at the end we play a part in demanding more drama. The public figures are only feeding us with what we want to witness. As for the blog post, I enjoyed the selection tweets, for the link it might be better if you had added a personal touch to it, maybe a photo or a call to action that enhances readers willingness to click on the link. Overall, loved the topic 🙂

      Like

  13. Hey Hayley!

    Personally i’m not a big fan of politics but due to the rise of politicians and political campaigns bursting on social media it’s really hard to ignore. It’s really interesting seeing how most politicians are creating an online identity, positively it allows us to get to know their personal side. Digital presence is still a little bit tricky to get a grasp on until now I still have a hard time to decide whats honest and whats staged.

    I like your closing statement, at the end we play a part in demanding more ‘drama’. The public figures are only feeding us with what we want to witness. As for the blog post, I enjoyed the selection tweets, for the link it might be better if you had added a personal touch to it, maybe a photo or a call to action that enhances readers willingness to click on the link. Overall, loved the topic 🙂

    Like

  14. Hey Hayley!

    Personally i’m not a big fan of politics but due to the rise of politicians and political campaigns bursting on social media it’s really hard to ignore. It’s really interesting seeing how most politicians are creating an online identity, positively it allows us to get to know their personal side. Digital presence is still a little bit tricky to get a grasp on until now I still have a hard time to decide whats honest and whats staged.

    I like your closing statement, at the end we play a part in demanding more drama. The public figures are only feeding us with what we want to witness. As for the blog post, I enjoyed the selection tweets, for the link it might be better if you had added a personal touch to it, maybe a photo or a call to action that enhances readers willingness to click on the link. Overall, loved the topic 🙂

    Like

  15. Hi Hayley, so true what you said about us ‘wanting’ to see these celebs or politicians on our newsfeeds! As much as I can’t stand Trump, I’m always waiting to hear what ludicrous drawl spews out of his mouth next and when he does I’m all over it! I want to see what it was that he said, I read people’s comments to see their reactions, I like the memes when my friends share them on their walls, it’s a vicious circle! You’ve picked such a relevant topic to blog about, which definitely got my mind racing.

    You do have a few grammatical errors, which I would suggest revising. Especially the unnecessary apostrophe in “American’s” at the start. Although it’s not particularly relevant to this blog post, your blog theme needs a bit of adjusting too, e.g. you have some placeholder text from WordPress in the footer of your site (“Text Widget”) and “Footer Three Menu Widget” – which I think if deleted, could really enhance the professionalism of your blog. 🙂

    Thanks for a good read, Hayley.

    C.

    Like

  16. Hi Hayley,

    Anyone that knows me knows that my three favorite things to do is to be on social media, to stalk celebrities and learning about politics so seeing this title drew me into this blog straight away! I really liked the structure of this blog as each paragraph, only including 2-3 sentences, included a new idea and was supported by a scholarly resource. Discussing how society as a whole is subject to unchallenged information that is biased and channeled through platforms used daily opened my eyes to, as scary as it may seem, the reality of the 21st century.

    Great blog – keep them coming.

    Like

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