Social media has changed the way we think about ourselves, our lives, our peers and our brands. Now, we’re seeing it seep into the American political landscape more than ever before. If you’re like me, your knee-jerk reaction is negative; however, the more that we are online as individuals, the more we value instant information and connection – and what better way for politicians to reach their constituents and maintain transparency than through social media?
Other than the current president, the person leading the charge for social media use in politics is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York, often referred to as “AOC”. At 29, she’s the youngest woman to serve in Congress, and she’s proving herself as someone who stands firmly by what she believes in.
AOC’s platforms of choice are Instagram and Twitter, which is unsurprising based on her demographic. Her presence on these outlets is very casual; since she began her journey as a Congresswoman, she’s shared every minute along the way, posting as if her audience was comprised solely of family and friends. The New York Times classifies her as “Extremely Online,” someone who shares most of their life on the internet. New York Times writer Kara Swisher, draws a parallel between AOC and the President, who certainly uses social media, but employs different tactics.
AOC approaches social media from a perspective of listening and responding. She’s known for Instagram live videos, one of which featured the representative taking questions about policies while she cooked herself a macaroni and cheese dinner, and Instagram Stories where she gives peeks into the behind-the-scenes of being a Congresswoman. On Twitter, she “claps-back” in real time when news stories or journalists try to slam her reputation (i.e. this video of her dancing in a college promotion video when she was an undergrad).
The President’s posts involve less interaction with constituents, as he uses social media as a constant content output and opinion megaphone. Trump doesn’t use his accounts to their fullest potential; missing out on the engagement that can come through sharing photos, videos, polls and more.Though different, the social methods of AOC and the President are extremely effective -- which in turn keeps both of them prominent in the news cycle.Click To Tweet
One thing’s for sure, the public is eating this up. You can expect to see more and more candidates and representatives being strategic about the way they present themselves as the political landscape becomes more social.
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