Thanks to the advancements in technology, politics has become more accessible than ever, not to mention more demanding too. Not so long ago, politicians had the chance to wait until morning before news would be aired, giving them time to think and consider before responding. However, that all changed with the introduction of twenty-four-hour news channels, and tech continues to transform it with each passing day.
Soap-box campaigning and dinner table discussions have now been replaced by smartphones and big data. As such, we have come up with a list of ways in which technology now plays in huge role in directly shaping the political landscape.
Influence Through Social Media
Imagine how different the Bush versus Kerry election could have been had social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook been prevalent then. Not only have these completely transformed the way in which candidates and politicians communicate with their constituencies, they have transformed the way in which constituencies are able to have a voice. Of course, there are pros and cons to be had. On the one side, politicians are able to talk directly to the people without the media filtering what they say to suit their own agendas. However, because social media is uncontrolled, false and unsubstantiated news is able to spread like wildfire, as we saw with the last election.
More Intelligent Campaigns
We live in a world of big data and analytics. It is what everyone wants to get their hands on in business and it is no different in politics. But not only does this allow candidates to understand more deeply the parts that working well in their campaign and what is failing them, there is now voting technology that benefits the electorate. Smartmatic allows better transparency during the voting stages, while also ensuring that the integrity is upheld, not to mention the efficiency too. All of this allows a more bespoke experience for both sides, which is entirely new to the process.
Under The Microscope
Candidates have to presume that everyone has a smartphone, which means they have to presume that everyone has a camera, a recording device and a way to live-stream, all of which goes up online and stays there for eternity. This means candidates have to be conscious of their every word and every action going viral; there to be scrutinized. Yes, this allows us to monitor the candidates in an entirely new way, and on that allows us a better picture of the people we are voting for, but it also plays into the hands of sensationalism, which even manages to litter the top world news apps. We saw in the last election how journalism became less factual and more paparazzi-style reporting. Nothing is off limits anymore, and that is quite terrifying.
The advancements in technology have become an issue that candidates now have to bring to the floor and take a stance on because it is such a huge topic with such massive potential. On the one hand, you have cyber security, which has plagued the election result itself, with many stating the result was tampered with, while other big and important topics include net neutrality, protecting people’s information, robots taking over the workplace and cyber bullying leading to a drastic rise in teen suicides. But it isn’t just about the topics of tech. It is also about being up to date with tech. If you are a candidate that doesn’t have a Twitter handle or a Facebook page, well, you won’t be taken seriously. It is that simple.