September 20, 2016

Talking about politics and the way IT transformed the political elections, I thought it would be interesting to look at Bernie Sanders campaign online.

I am a fan of social media just as much as I like to distance myself from it. It can get too addictive because of the long tail market it easily serves. With the absence of geographical borders and the help of recommendation algorithms, mediums like Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr hooked up a pretty decent amount of users on attractive and relatable content. Regular users, teams of enthusiasts, and of course corporations are keen on catering interesting content to foster the sense of community online, unified by the same purpose, problems, interest or aesthetic view.

This is why I especially like to look at meme pages. Instagram and Facebook, for instance, got flooded with accounts creating funny relatable images with humorous captions and emojis. Users reinforce relatability (being relatable) by tagging their friends in the comment sections – even though any social media allows to send the funny post in private messages, people still want the sense of “this is so us” while openly tagging friends in funny memes.

#Sanders #berniesanders #berniesandersmemes #sanders2016 #studentloans #studentloanssuck #studentproblems #collegeprobs #collegeproblems #femalesbelike #memesbelike #lifememes #lifequotes #ibelike

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For politicians, there are two important criteria to balance – honesty and electability. Apparently, Bernie Sanders was the candidate with a balance of both. Regardless of the statistics of his following on social media (shown below), there is a lot more to say about meme pages that posted pictures about this candidate, thus inexplicitly supporting his candidacy. A meme dedicated to Bernie even page has its own wiki page, and an entire set of memes in his support to oppose Hilary. It is very unlikely his presidential campaign could generate such a favourable internet response by its own efforts.

Instagram: Sanders 1.4 M / Clinton 1.6 M / Trump 2.1M

Twitter: Sanders 2.51 M / Clinton 8.87 M / Trump 11.6 M

Facebook: Sanders 4.46 M / Clinton 6.01 M / Trump 10.74 M

What does it mean for the candidate? First, his following is very young, tech-savvy, and internet educated. Also, it shows that social media is part of the culture of our time because we see people use this creative outlet to express their opinions. Unfortunately, it may take another 4 years for social media to rise and gain respect in the campaigns on the scale of this importance, and for the generation to reach the voting age.

This is our guy! 😍#BernieSanders #BernieSanders2016 #FeelTheBern #berndownforwhat #BSDMS pic.twitter.com/HC1O0jzSYr

— Averi the Atheist (@AveriTheAtheist) February 22, 2016


September 13, 2016

Apparently, the Internet is not a one-way street, in spite of our naive opinion. Whenever I browse the world wide web, I perform a two-way exchange of data with me giving information about myself in exchange for a particular information I crave today, whether it is a Wikipedia page on Heidegger or the count of calories in 100g of walnuts. From my personal experience as well, the outcoming traffic rarely overruns the incoming data, which is an idealistic representation of my relationship with the net. But is the data we give in exchange negligible?

This unfair ratio of information that websites and, hence, businesses get from the users does not impede their leverage of such data. Spotify recommends me the music to my taste, Facebook recommends me to like pages of brands I may like or have already looked up on, Instagram keeps me browsing in-app suggested feed of what it thinks I enjoy, while Amazon already knows what I will order next time. Companies have got a hand on this small amount of information from the users to deliver us, the consumers, what they think we want. And we want it!

But do we need it?

The seemingly boundless opportunities of the two-way information exchange that the Internet has to offer puts people in the loop. Users underestimate what information they give to companies. Companies look at data and “innovate” based on what users may like. Musicians create music they know people like. Netflix creates shows based on what viewers like. The creativity has found its endless loop between businesses and consumers.

Not many things in life work one-way except for highways and escalators. Probably, the Internet has to find its way being another one-way street for the sake of genuine innovation and creativity we need?

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