Political parties and their representatives are increasingly applying the management of visibility by visualization and through various means of technology. This is rapidly becoming a prominent way of communicating with the public. The media is, of course, the primary medium of channelling this. A central feature of contemporary politics orbits around the management of visibility and how this has an impact on mobilisation of public view.
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In depicting these images to the society, the media plays a fundamental part. The media, in essence, is performing two crucial functions; it supports the politicians to send their message out in order to shore-up their supporters and gain the support of general public and secondly, it allows the public to respond to the politicians by sending in their feedback, so that politicians take note of issues which they feel need to be addressed (Nash and Scott).
, in contemporary politics, media is regarded as a priceless asset which helps in creating a formidable association between the politicians and the masses. Besides that, it also plays a fundamental part in structuring and presenting shape to politics and communal life.
Nevertheless, regardless of the actual ability of the politician in proving his value to the masses, the public-relation experts hired by these politicians focus more on individual image and techniques, rather than on their political essence. Today, in contemporary politics, it is an understood fact that if you do not make use of social media, it would be next to impossible to communicate and hence, pass on your message, let alone winning an election.
For people in politics, the implications for this global trend are clear; mastery over social media would be the key difference in winning or losing an election (Sanders). Therefore, it is an understood fact that the politicians need to stay up-to date with ever changing medium. At the moment, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogging on their respective pages are the key to the management of visibility.
Facebook has revolutionized the way society functions, especially in developed states. People turn to Facebook like they used to turn to televisions in the early 60’s. It has become a place where individuals of nearly all ages interact and discuss social, political, cultural and economic issues.
One can imagine its impact, if it is currently being used by revolutionaries in countries across the Arab world like Iran, Libya, and Bahrain etc, to organize mass rallies against their governments. Thus, as a politician or a political party, you have to reach out to the people there and attract them to your agendas, official webpage’s, forums etc, where they could learn more information about your campaigns and ambitions.
In Facebook terms, it is simply not enough to have a Profile; you need to be dominant by being more active, perhaps, by creating a Fan-Page or commenting and responding on more topics. Similarly, Twitter is another form of new social media, which can give real-time information and a personal contact with politicians’ respective constituents.
It makes a normal person feel ‘special’ as he feels that he is directly communicating with an important or a famous person. Little needs to be said about YouTube, as the last US Presidency was very much won through all these mediums, especially through YouTube, which attracted President Obama a following in millions across the world.
It is clearly evident that management of visibility is a central feature in contemporary politics. It has changed the nature of politics entirely and given it a new meaning. How politicians approach a certain agenda can reap tremendous benefits, but can also be used as a propaganda tool against them.
Every word, political-ad, statement would be widely seen in a matter of seconds and debated, and scrutinized for numerous years to come, as it is next to impossible to remove anything from the world-wide-web. Unlike, traditional print media, where stories, scandals, political issues etc. came out on a daily basis and did not have the option that allowed people to express themselves on the news itself, new forms of social media have changed that forever.
Nash, K. and A. Scott. “The Media and Politics.” The Blackwell Companion to Political Sociology. London: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2008. Chapter 16.
Sanders, K. “Symbolic Politics: ‘All the world’s a stage’, in: Communicating Politics in the Twenty-First Century.” Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. 40-54.