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