*TRIGGER WARNING* If you are of a nervous disposition and cannot stand to listen to any more talk of Brexit or Donald Trump. This blog post is NOT for you*

Welcome back! I hope you’ve had a great break, and are excited for the year ahead!! What better way to start the new year than talk about 2 of the most popular topics of conversation: Brexit and Donald Trump. If you thought you had seen the back of these, you were most certainly wrong.  Let’s start 2019 as we mean to go on, as it doesn’t look like either of these things are going anywhere, for the near future at least.

Before we continue, ask yourself this. Has social media influenced your voting behaviour? Has it changed your opinion of a politician?

How has politics changed?

Social media has become an area that more and more political figures /parties have invested in as a way to get people to vote. And as a result, it has had a large amount of influence on voting behaviour.  There are a large number of accounts that are set up by normal people as well. Whose main goal is to support their party and its beliefs. Whilst also, try to drum up more voters.

Before we get to the exciting stuff…

It may seem a distant memory, but it wasn’t too long ago when social media users could laugh about British politics. Yes actually LAUGH, instead of weeping at the sight of the pound plummeting, cringing at Theresa May’s ‘dancing’ and scared of the impending journey into the unknown that is BREXIT!!

Ed Miliband had his reputation left in ruins in the 2015 General election, due to the circulation of the now infamous bacon sandwich photo. Which was emblazoned across the front pages of all the papers, shared countless times on Facebook and became a meme on Twitter.  The comedic value soon faded as many began to worry that he was an unfit candidate and laughable excuse for a Prime Ministerial candidate.

As a result, Labour took a large blow in the ballots. He lost 48 seats in parliament and ultimately forced his resignation too. ALL BECAUSE OF A BACON SANDWICH.

BRE**T & TR*MP

Arguably we are living through one of the most politically divided times. With people like Donald Trump in power and Brexit a matter of months away, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites are awash with political debates.

Activists, regular people, and politicians flock to these sites to voice their opinion. You would struggle to go a day without hearing the muttering of ‘brexit’ ‘no-deal’ ‘building the wall’. And just when you think you couldn’t hear any more, you turn on the TV, open your Twitter app and SHOCK there’s more. Social media has become an alternative way for politicians to gain support. And it has never been more noticeable than in the case of Brexit and Trump.

Brexit

Below is a twitter page that is focusing on the Brexit campaign, more specifically Leaving the EU. Twitter accounts like ‘@ivoteleave’ used the platform to spread their message and urge Twitter users to leave. Using the site meant that the organisation was exposed to vast numbers of people. And due to its biased content, can potentially influence them when it comes to voting. The page has just over 7,000 followers which highlights not only the success of the page but, that it is a very popular opinion.

Read tweets below for instance….

This tweet posted by the account managed to get 290 retweets.  Meaning that it was seen by not only the followers of ‘@iVoteLeave’ but also the followers of the 290 accounts who retweeted it. furthering the message of the ‘leave’ campaign.

TRUMP

Never one to play by the rules. Donald Trump gained significant notoriety and recognition for the Republican party, soon after announcing that he would run for President. He did this through his insulting and inaccurate tweets. Rather than setting out a clear direction of his intended policies or manifesto, he instead set upon his opponent Hillary Clinton. Or more commonly known by his supporters as ‘crooked Hillary’. It seems that the list of those in the firing line of Trump’s Twitter tirades is endless. Calling out anyone from his predecessor Barack Obama, Meryl Streep and Macy’s. Yes…Macy’s. To be honest it would be easier to list the people he didn’t insult.

He has also been widely criticised for retweeting and posting images from anti-semitic, and racist groups. Or more generally, inaccurate reports and fake statistics. Ironic when he has become synonymous with the phrase “Fake News”. Which he does not hesitate to use in response to criticisms against him.

With his Kanye-like twitter rants- Donald Trump is easily one of the most polarising American presidents we have seen in modern history. And that’s putting it nicely. The majority of his victorious campaign was driven on social media. As it is both free and reaches larger audiences (with 55.7m active users in 2019)  than traditional rallies. Raising the question, is Trump a genius for using social media? Or, just cheap?

To conclude…

Social media and the digital age has revolutionised politics. We can easily find information about new manifestos, laws and legislation. It also feels like we have a more personal relationship with those who make the laws for us. However, in an era of ‘Fake News’. We need to ask ourselves whether we can believe everything that is reported. Is £350m really going to be going to the NHS every week? NO. Is Covfefe actually a word? NO. Moral of the story, use social media to help inform your vote, but definitely not make your vote.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and made you question yourselves. I apologise to have to talk about Brexit and Trump as I’m aware you’re all as sick of it as me!

Please continue the discussion with me in the comments here, or, Twitter @_thatsmy0pinion and use the #TMO as I will be replying to all!

Check back next week for another post, and I promise its a Trump and Brexit free zone!