Social Media and Politics

If social media became living and breathing person, he or she would be bi-polar schizophrenic.

By Jonah Kondro

If social media became living and breathing person, he or she would be bi-polar schizophrenic with a wall of his or her house covered in funny cat photos. This weird new being would also have a short attention span and a questionable internet browser history. Social media, however, is not a person but an anarchic domain thriving on the fast and loose likes and dislikes of the internet’s communal force.

Social media is the reason why there is a generation of voters that aren’t making good democratic decisions. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Reddit, or whatever has the ability to post anything and everything; and within those networks, pictures can be shopped and articles can lack credibility. The applications within our devices and computers operate instantaneously; the same goes for all the social networks we graze through — providing the magical Wi-Fi particles are in the correct concentration in the atmosphere. The collective political conscious of the internet can sway quickly like the needle on an old farm truck’s oil pressure gauge.

A frustrating dilemma in the voting process is when there is a low percentage of eligible voters that actually make it to the polls — this is old news for everyone. Another frustrating dilemma in the voting process is when the voters, which do show up, cast a ballot without making a proper critically informed decision. To make one thing clear: everyone should be able to cast their ballot (over the age of eighteen of course). That individual has the responsibility to make a good choice. A bunch of bad choices isn’t going ferment and distil into an economic or political fairy tale. The political machine doesn’t automatically synchronize together like our device does to our home’s Wi-Fi connection.

So many of us are thumbing our way through home screens and through feeds selecting and deselecting whatever are immediate desires are. Everything, it seems, is within a swipe away on the internet. Politics and government processes are not within a swipe away. There is a very good reason why so many tax dollars get burnt up paying our elected officials to sit through caucus meetings: every angle of a problem and decision needs to be thoroughly argued and discussed before deciding a solution. Our policy makers cannot hit the like or share button, nor can they scroll over the demands of their constituents: our bills, our laws, our government tasks are not popularized and discarded like the latest trending YouTube video. A successful government needs to take its time.

I’m not passively endorsing one provincial political party or the next. Nor am I bashing one party or another. The decisions made by the voting population need to be allowed to run their course. Let’s all let social media do its thing and let’s all let the government do their thing. Somewhere in the midst of it all I hope more newspapers and books are read, more conversations are had, and more knowledge is universally obtained so that during the next election, whether municipal, provincial, or federal, the best decisions are made.