Social media plays a critical role in contemporary society. However, one of the most controversial questions with regard to the role of social media is whether it is a positive or a negative role. For example, social media sites like Twitter and Facebook improve advertisement opportunities by enabling organizations to reach out to their potential clients (Isaacs 421). Conversely, such social media sites can encourage negative practices such as cyber bullying, destruction of relationships, and leaking of confidential information. Regarding the discussion of rhetoric on Facebook, it is often challenging to determine the nature of the implications of social media.
Social media embodies the use of rhetoric refers to the art of using language for the purposes of successfully convincing, persuading, and affecting other people. Many times, rhetoric is usually overlooked when using social media platforms such as Facebook. Nonetheless, it is important to note that the rhetoric involved in convincing others through social media sites like Facebook cannot be evaluated in similar terms as those used in nonviolent and daily life argumentation (Isaacs 421). For example, if a Facebook user intends to catch attention, his or her status has to be short, precise, and extremely interesting. As such, it can be concluded that the rhetoric on Facebook is often not as detailed, elegant, or comprehensive as that used in a face-to-face context (White 7). Still, rhetoric can more efficiently be made use of in the social media platform than it is currently done. Social media has numerous rhetorical benefits.
To begin with, it offers an opportunity to build a person’s ethos. This, however, does not imply simply bragging about your achievements through egocentric statuses. Essentially, ethos can be created effectively by building complementary but unassuming statuses and profiles that seek to positively impact society. At times, social media brings about a negative image of its users since they fail to monitor the kind and nature of the material they post online (Isaacs 421). Individuals can also take advantage of pathos, a rhetoric element, through social media sites such as Facebook (White 7). For instance, numerous charitable campaigns are often initiated through Facebook by use of emotional persuasion, for purposes of gathering more support. Such campaigns usually draw on people’s personal experiences with the intent, empathy, and sympathy to convince Facebook users to consider joining such campaigns and spread awareness using updating their statuses (Schivinski and Dabrowski. 189). Such campaigns, however, can potentially lose their reliability if Facebook users fail to establish an effective ethos.
Although rhetoric is constantly adapting as methods of communication evolve in contemporary society, it is usually difficult to recognize rhetoric in various new mediums of contract. It has been established that within social media sites such as Facebook, rhetoric is usually incorrectly utilized or underutilized. Similarly, if individuals learn to take advantage of rhetoric on social media platforms such as Facebook, then they will easily build their credibility by creating ethos, which eventually creates a substantial impact. What is more, social media users will gain the ability to take advantage of the use of pathos to gain support for initiatives they believe in. In such a way, social media platforms, Facebook, in this case, will turn out to be platforms on which individuals develop influential positions in their societies, but if and only if they use rhetoric effectively.
Admittedly, technological advancement has influenced the patterns of interaction as well as communication in society. Many individuals use the internet to get and share information on an array of issues; political, economic, and social. Additionally, many individuals are familiar with social media as a platform to interact or instead communicate with others. Social media enables people to distribute knowledge, ideas, and views among users via electronic media like Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and even YouTube (Haynes 12). On the political part, social media greatly influences patterns of political interaction. The implication is that politicians will interact and communicate with their voters. For instance, politicians use social media to acquire public support during election periods. Besides, through social media, politicians can share their vision and their views on what they want to achieve when they are elected to office. The use of social media has dramatically transformed the way campaigns are managed and how people interact and communicate with their elected leaders. Further, the use of social media has enabled elected leaders and candidates for public office to become accessible and accountable to the electorates.
One of the ways the use of social media has changed the political landscape is by allowing the politician to have direct contact with the voters by speaking directly to them in real time with little or no cost. During the interaction, the politician can communicate his vision and development agenda (Yousif and Alsamydai 85). Moreover, most constitutions call for public participation before any development project can be undertaken. Therefore, politicians will use the platform of social media to engage the public and seek their opinions regarding the development agendas. In this sense, the use of social media had kept people aware and engaged as opposed to the times when there was no use of the internet and when public participation was costly and required a large amount of time. What is more, it has become relatively common for political operations to produce advertisements and publish them with no charge on YouTube rather than paying for time on television and radio (Haynes 15). Through, Twitter and Facebook, voters and activists can easily share information like campaign events. Therefore, the campaign team will have information in real-time.
Secondly, social media has been used as a platform to fundraise money for political campaigns. The campaign team will get an opportunity to invite their followers about the fundraising with full details about the event including the location in real-time and at no cost. Also, the followers may be asked to give their contributions through online payment methods. Hence, this has seen many politicians get contributions from friends and the population who would not have had the opportunity to attend the fundraising in person (Yousif and Alsamydai 85). Studies reveal that online payment platforms have allowed getting a lot of money which they use in campaigns. However, a section of experts has blamed on the use of huge funds in campaigns since it influences bad leadership. Similarly, the use of cash in politics has enabled leaders to reach out to voters.
Thirdly, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have enabled politicians to reply to some accusations and allegations regarding their conduct (Haynes 8). Some politicians have been accused of committing or having previously committed conduct that is not pleasant to the electorates; thus social media will give the politician an opportunity to clear his name and explain his side of the story. For instance, a politician may be accused of having disrespected a particular group of people or region. Moreover, the politician will also get an opportunity to get feedback from the voters or constituents. It is important to know what the electorates feel about the movements and actions of a politician. Getting feedback on criticism and complaints will make the candidate a better public official. More importantly, the politician should welcome feedback from the public regardless of whether it is negative or positive.
Fourthly, social media platforms have allowed people to easily join hands together to petition the administration as well as their elected officials, putting more pressure against the power of influential lobbyists together with special interest groups. The power of social media has in many cases managed to tame the individual interest of powerful politicians and citizens. Leaders with scandals such as corruption issues have been asked to step aside through mass exposure through social media (Yousif and Alsamydai 86). Some powerful leaders have been asked to step aside when they are accused of either incompetence or bad governance. The implication is that the social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook help keep leaders in check because the voice of the many is on the social media platform. Indeed, social media gives citizens an opportunity to air their grievances and talk about what is happening around them.
In summary, the political landscape has significantly transformed in recent decades. The use of the internet has played a gold star role in this transformation. In particular, social media is currently a serious element in political campaigns, and in the manner, in which voters think about agendas. Through the use of social media, candidates, as well as their supporters, continually post their views and opinions on Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.
Haynes, A., 2008. Making an Impression in the 21st Century: An Examination of Campaign Use of New Media in 2008 Presidential Campaign, Athens: University of Georgia, retrieved 26 July 2012, <http://myweb.uiowa.edu>
Isaacs, David. “Social media and communication.” Journal of pediatrics and child health 50.6 (2014): 421-422.
Schivinski, Bruno, and Dariusz Dabrowski. “The effect of social media communication on consumer perceptions of brands.” Journal of Marketing Communications 22.2 (2016): 189-214.
White, Connie M. Social media, crisis communication, and emergency management: Leveraging Web 2.0 technologies. CRC Press, 2016.
Yousif, R.D & Alsamydai, M.J., 2012.The Impact of Political Promotion via Facebook on Individuals’ Political Orientations. International Journal of Business and Management, vol.7, no.10, pp. 85-98