It is no secret that 21st century politicians have gone to great lengths to connect with the youth culture of America by expanding their communication to involve culturally relevant platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Since social media has virtually transformed how political campaigns function and made American politics more interactive than ever before, I can’t help but applaud these efforts. However, even though I have often raved about how social media has brought American citizens closer to our elected officials, reading about Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s most recent social media blunder has made me rethink my original conclusion.
See why I have my doubts about the two platforms mixing? The problem with politics entering into the social media world is the contradictory characteristics that the two institutions innately possess. A defining characteristic of social media is complete transparency between the content creator and the viewer. Politics on the other hand, is often shrouded in mystery and has a general lack of transparency. When it comes to politics, there is always the feeling that there’s just something “they” are not telling you, which is the exact opposite for those who have found success in social media platforms like YouTube.
For this reason, politicians can’t begin to understand or relate to an audience that both expects and is built on candidness and transparency, which is why the pre-scripted videos proved to be completely out of touch. Through social media, politicians are attempting to eliminate the perceived barrier between citizens and officials, but Mourdock’s mishap has only served to reinforce it.