• How social media is shaping the political landscape

    "Delete your account."

    Three words, 18 characters, that's all it took for Clinton's response to one of Trump's tweets to make the history books. 

    Entertaining millions, devastating more, the now US President-elect didn't delete his social media account. Instead, the last six months have been characterised by back and forth rhetoric between the politicians and their busy communication teams.

    Before the dawn of social media, politicians relied on face-to-face meetings, radio or newspapers to convey disdain for each other. Nowadays, childish fights are made public in a maximum of 140 characters. So, how exactly is social media changing the political landscape?

    Is Trump's Twitter feed shaping UK politics?

    The answer to that question is probably (hopefully) no. But, the fact is that Twitter has enabled a whole new world of communicating opinions. 

    Known for his controversial sharing of thoughts, Donald Trump recently put Downing Street in an awkward position with one of his most recent tweets. He suggested that Nigel Farage, who is an avid pro-Brexit supporter and anti-establishment, would be his choice for UK ambassador to the US. 

    Disregarding that the position is filled by Sir Kim Darroch, who has 30 years of political and diplomatic experience, Theresa May's team is currently stuck between a hard spot and a rock. While the UK has the sovereign right to appoint ambassadors by itself, it took the UK prime minister's office too long to respond to the characteristically challenging Trump.

    Timing is everything in a hyperconnected world. This now means that, while Trump might not be able to decide who represents the UK in the US, his activity on social media is giving him an unprecedented ability to reach more diverse demographics than ever.

    There's even a 135 page long handbook on Twitter for politicians to teach relevant parties how to use the online platform effectively. It highlights just how entrenched social media is becoming in the political landscape and the need for a drastic shift in strategy for successful audience reach and reputation management alike.

    The method of reaching audiences has shifted.The method of reaching audiences has shifted.

    A steep learning curve

    Social media's ability to connect high-profile politicians directly with voters is both a great opportunity and threat. People are fed up with the status-quo and one of the biggest challenges corporate communication specialists will face in the future is managing new expectations of real-time communication flows between stakeholders.

    While we can't say what politics are going to look like exactly in the future, there's no doubt that effective use of Twitter, Facebook and the like will take centre stage in reaching audiences.

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