a mash-up of public (communication) & talking
I am something of a (closet) political junkie when it comes to elections. Oddly enough, politics itself, that vague act of governing and legislating and managing a large budget, that raises my ire and I usually look away when I can, but elections get me geared up for something… the debate, the issues, the hope and promise of something better (despite that we all know it a scattered collection of lies and false idealism in the end.)
All things considered, my interest in politics has shifted almost exclusively to social media. I get my political fix digitally, from the web, tweeted in bursts, hash-tagged and trended, liked on Facebook, or spasmed across the chasms of Google Plus. I consume my politics through a screen. Filtered, yes. Trending, true. But with a consciousness of both the pitfalls and advantages of the source.
Is social media perfect? Far from it. The amplification of false statements, or loaded comments, or invested instigators or paid advertisements is merely a single detractor to the power of the medium… but one that may fade as the medium matures. It’s users are its greatest asset and it’s greatest flaw, but then from that notion we are simultaneously all assets and all flaws. Ultimately, it is a love-hate relationship that is founded on the very principals of the politics that inflames it so: democratic freedoms, but of information and ideas, and that is what drive it so forcefully forward.
Disclosure: for all my self-declared election junkie-ness, I’ve never attended a rally or watched a live speech. I’ve never, ever –not once– followed along as a candidate stumped.
The allure of listening to a live person debate or otherwise prattle on about issue they care about or ideals they believe in, this is a very real thing, for others (I suppose) and myself. I’ve often considered seeking out a rally of some kind… I just never have. No time. No effort. No action.
Yet, I consider myself involved. Investing time. Investing effort. Taking action. Just online.
I suppose it is a trust thing. I understand social media, but I don’t understand speeches, or not in the right way: like the masquerade that is all of politics, I assume there is some kind of buffing of the audience, or some trick of the camera that makes those crowds jostling around a potential politician seem bigger than they actually are, like a dozen people with signs crammed into every square centimeter of video real estate giving the impression of hundreds of people, if they exist or otherwise.
In the digital realm, reputation (or lack thereof) hangs out there for all (who want to dig it up) to see. When all I have in front of me is a pretty smile or a idealistic and charismatic voice… that’s when my perceptions overrule my rationality. So I don’t let it. And part of me feels like that’s where the world is trending… on tweets and in real life.