Social Networking

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Discovering the Wonders of Social Networking
The turn of the century has brought social media, and its multiple impacts in society, on strong. The rapid development of technology has allowed for the growth of social networking into many industries holding great influence. There is no shortage of social networks up with access for nearly anyone to use. These can be a great source for information and a way to stay connected. However, since social networking is a relatively new innovation that has taken the world’s youth by storm, a majority of its’ make up and magnitude of its’ power has yet to be completely uncovered. With the increased popularity of these sites has come increased debate on a wide spread of topics ranging from bullying and safety to political campaigning. Social networking

Even though social networking hasn't been a huge factor in politics for a long time, in the last few years it has certainly come on full force. Vincent Harris, leader of many successful political campaigns, has discovered "Unlike Google where ads are targeted to search or content key words on a specific site, Facebook ads allow you to identify and target people who are in 100% agreement with your values system, regardless of your ideology." Through Harris' emphasis on ads, he highlights the realization that every tool is key to gaining the most support possible for a political campaign. By contacting users with values similar to the ones implemented in a campaign, a politician may be many times more successful in finding willing supporters. Campaign leaders, along with Harris, are fully aware of the way society is turning to social media, especially Facebook, as it's key resource for information, and therefore utilizes this reliance to his advantage. Harris goes on to show even more realization of the help social networks can be to a campaign by expressing that "…politicians are beginning to understand that someone who comments on their Facebook page with a concern should be looked at the same way as someone sending a letter to their district office." Historically, it has been difficult for members of the community to be in contact with politicians running for office. Harris sees great opportunity in a free and convenient way for these people to get in touch with their political leaders. It can be beneficial to both the people and the campaign because it allows citizens questions, concerns, and opinions to be heard and furnishes the politicians with chances to advance their campaigns. Social networking can open up a whole new audience to the world of campaigning and politics.

While social networking sites may allow politicians’ access to new potential supporters, several problems have been discovered with this campaigning method. Julian E. Zelizer, an author and very knowledgeable man on the issue of politics and campaigning, criticizes social network campaigning saying "What makes Facebook politics vulnerable is that it lacks the local element that has always been so crucial to politics. The most durable forms of political organization have usually depended on local organizing." Zelizer conveys that by moving away from what has previously allowed major success in the world of politics, politicians will be unable to maintain the support and necessary after election from the voters to actually achieve what they desire in office. Zelizer emphasizes that when a politician becomes a face, and not just a name or a fan page, supporters are able to make their endorsement of a campaign more personal. Social networking cannot completely take the place of face-to-face interaction simply because what is posted on the fan page can be easily forgotten. Zelizer continues to trace how "President Obama and Democrats have discovered that the kind of movement created by the Internet can be extraordinarily fragile and fleeting." Zelizer utilizes an election so recent and memorable to show that the increasing use of social networking in campaigns is a...
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