A good politician should have a regular contact with their electorate. A great achievement is to find a group of virtual fans and future voters. This is the reason social media are heaven for those, who are seeking a career and fame.
The most popular social networking site, Facebook, has already nearly 900 million users. The site is so strongly rooted in the life of Western societies that almost everyone has got an account on it: artists (e.g. Lady Gaga), multinational companies (such as Coca-Cola), and even television programs (such as "The Simpsons"). Interestingly, each of these giant accounts have easily gathered millions of fans. Following their spectacular success, politicians decided to do the same thing, counting on the possibility of forging their own electorate of Internet users. The phenomenon of "herd" was perfectly used by Barack Obama, whose profile has over 26 million fans! All the other rivals in the battle for the US presidency in 2012 gathered together 1/10 of that number. This is theproof of the extraordinary talent of the Hawaiian charismatic orator.
In spite of the fact that in Europe there is the largest number of Facebook users, there are no politicians with such achievements. When we compare British and American politicians, we may come to the conclusion that the former are still learning how to use social media. And so long-term British Prime Minister Tony Blair has 27 thousand supporters, Ed Miliband MP – 15 thousand fans, and the actual Prime Mister David Cameron – 171 thousand users. Politicians in the United Kingdom have made some progress, yet they still cannot be compared with the U.S. "titans" in the field. The main problem is that most of the Members of Parliament are technologically stuck in the twentieth century. They do not bother with social media sites because of either popular resentment in this area, or a faint IT knowledge. And although for the consistent inaction they do not meet any form of ostracism, they have also no profit from it. Few, who try to integrate with net surfers, do it usually only during elections.
Facebook is not the only contact with the world and society. Twitter, which is gaining more and more popularity, in the nearest future may become even more important. There are still many other social media: Flickr (mostly to post photos), LinkedIn (to enter into business relations) and Google+ (which has not yet proved its strength) are just three other examples. Politicians should realize the transfer of the political sphere into the world of the Internet and an enormous potential of social media.
Social media have revolutionized the way of communicating with other people, regardless of age, gender or race. Even social relations as such, went through a deep change, affecting at the same time the form of communication with electorate and style of campaigning. The main feature that distinguishes social media is the content of sites, that are developed and commented by the users themselves. Secondly, the flow of information is an unprecedentedly swift and spontaneous. "Hot news" is no longer reserved only for selected newspapers or television. Social media are often faster. And finally, the most important thing – contacts with politicians no longer have a one-way or hierarchical dimension. Unlike traditional media, communication on Facebook or Twitter involves the exchange of views and sharing materials. The most important thing is the encouragement to interaction, because without it, social networks would vanish. Politicians, in order to survive, should obediently follow the voters’ choices and create their accounts on social media websites. They have to accept one rule – the more accounts and fans a politician has, the bigger the chance they have to win next elections.