Social networking is becoming a part of the political communication process for many MPs, and linking up Twitter and Facebook is a way of getting messages out to a range of audiences. A couple of studies undertaken by myself and Nigel Jackson have shown party politics to be the least popular usage of such sites and perhaps this is one bit of clear evidence why not. Liberal Democrats have the greatest number of MPs using social networking, and there is a logic for them to do things like this by Jo Swinson: advertise what party leader Nick Clegg contributed to PMQs. The mainstream media focus on the battle between prime minister and prime minister in waiting, not the actions of the minor parties to the same extent. So they try to alter this imbalance. However, once they are party political, and if they amass an array of friends or followers from outside of the party circle, they can gain comments such as this. If removed it suggests censorship, if not they have a highly negative, and yes pretty crude, comment about the current party leader on their profile. This can be embarrassing either way. Therefore, there are dangers with using SNS to promote the party in this way as such comments can also be mediated by other members of these communities and the result can be the antithesis of what was intended.
This will have been seen as the truth and there would have be no need for them to look into if this was actually the case. However, even though one will now have the ability to go online and to see what the alternative media has to say, it doesn’t mean that this will take place. They could be only too happy to carry on as before. As another source is now available, they have the chance to see if what the mainstream media tells them is actually the truth. This will be the same as one having the opportunity to spend time around people who are radically different. Through being around these people, it can enable them to see if the people they have spent time with up until this point in time are right for them. But regardless of whether this relates to the news or to relationships, the need to hold onto what is familiar still remains. Consequently, even though one now has the chance to see if what the mainstream media comes out with is the truth; it doesn’t mean that they will. Instead, they could continue to blindly follow this source of information.
It is then not that one will follow this source because they want to be informed; they will follow it because that’s what they have always done. The part of their brain that is only interested in their survival will have taken over, while the part of them that has the ability to questions things will be out of action. This comes down to the fact the mind is drawn to that which is familiar; if something is not familiar, it will be seen as a threat. Thus, even though this relates to information and not a life or death situation, the mind will still work in the same way. Based on this, if one is a lot younger and they have grown up with the internet, there is the chance that they will be more likely to look towards the alternative media. For one thing, they are not going to be as attached to the mainstream media.
Also, one is likely to have a Smartphone, and this will mean that they can take a deeper look into anything they want, no matter where they are. Ergo, unlike the older generation, they will be part of the generation that is informed about the world. But while this might sound accurate, it could be said that this is not going to apply to everyone under a certain age. There will be people who haven’t grown up with the internet who still look towards the mainstream media. Although these people might not read a paper or watch the news on TV, for instance, they will still read articles and watch videos that are provided by this source online. At the same time, one could end up being manipulated by the people behind the mainstream media even if they pay attention to the alternative media. What this comes down to is that even if a website positions itself as being on the fringes, this could be nothing more than an illusion. Through creating this impression, it causes people to drop their guard down. There is then a more direct way of manipulating people and there is a more indirect way of doing it. It has been sad that the people behind the scenes have controlled people in this way for many, many years.
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