For the past few decades, observers of the global political environment have reported rapid, dramatic developments beginning in the second decade of the twentieth century. Most importantly, social media networks in Europe and America have had various effects on the political systems of different countries. The influence varies across and within democratic and authoritarian regimes, and is primarily determined by three political actors: domestic opposition, external pressures, and the ruling regime. Social media may have four varied consequences depending on how these three people utilize it, as well as state capability and political system type. It has the potential to undermine strong democratic administrations, strengthen strong authoritarian regimes, radicalize weak democratic governments, and destabilize weak authoritarian regimes. Millions of voters in European democracies have turned to backing populist leaders, some of whom have autocratic tendencies. There are several ways that authorities in the United States might take to mitigate the impacts of social media platforms and ensure people’ right to freedom of expression based on accurate, diverse, and accurately sourced information.
Jeremy Corbyn is one of the most popular politicians who has successfully used social media platforms to further their cause. Jeremy Corbyn would be the ideal politician for social media if you had to create one (Reeves, 2017). He is older and shabbier than his competitors, with a scrub of stubble on his face and a shirt pocket stuffed with an entire staffroom’s worth of biros (Guardian News and Media, 2017). He’s an exception in terms of temperament, smirking his way throughout a slew of tech interviews as the rest of us drift aimlessly from buzzword to pointless buzzword. And he is so radically distinct from the rest of Labor that he has nearly single-handedly thrown the party into its most serious identity crisis in decades. All of this contributes to Corbyn’s status as a readily identified underdog. People are trying to smash him wherever he goes — his competitors, the press, former prime ministers, including his own party – and this, at least to the layman, is what makes him alluring (Guardian News and Media, 2017). According to recent reports, Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the Leader of the Conservative Party, has made digital networks a critical part of his communications plan; nevertheless, recent reports reveal that the new prime minister’s social media pulling power is far less than that of his main rival, Jeremy Corbyn (Guardian News and Media, 2017).
Strategies Used by Jeremy Corbyn
Most importantly, Jeremy Corbyn prefers hosting Prime Ministers Questions (PMQs) on social media platforms, like, Twitter. The platform provides the politician with a real-time engagement session with voters, which is an effective approach of getting to pass the message (Reeves, 2017). In the contemporary world, social media Q/As sessions take place during live television to allow audience members watching from home to ask questions and receive instant responses from politicians (Guardian News and Media, 2017). Therefore, social media PMQs are highly valuable opportunities that let the audience and viewers to strengthen their understanding of the politician’s agenda and link the speech to specifics in daily routines.
Different researches point out that Labor dominated the social media polls, since the party used platforms, such as, Twitter, Facebook, and online footages to strengthen and encourage the voter base, rather than attacking their rivals. Recent data revealed by social media 89up shows that despite the fact that the Boris Johnson was at the top of his public picture and dominated the news agenda, Facebook posts by the Jeremy Corbyn were shared three times as often as posts by Johnson for the first few weeks of the new Conservative government. Therefore, the Labor Party, chaired by Jeremy Corbyn ran the most successful social media election campaign in history.
Further study points out that Jeremy Corbyn online campaign strategy is based around creating viral persuasive content, and surpassing the media and breaking out of the bubble. However, this is recent critical trend which calls for the need for greater attention to establish whether is an attempt to modernize political marketing communications, or it is a calculated plan by Corbyn to make the Labor Party a persuasive left wing ‘mass brand’ that depends on its membership to try to convince voters to vote Labor via social media platforms.
Analyses reveal that while Boris Johnson’s following across all the key social media platforms a few weeks after, entering Downing Street on July 24, 2019, with his followers on Instagram growing rapidly, he has a challenging task of matching the numbers and engagements of Corbyn’s online support levels (Reeves, 2017). Statistical analysis performed on Facebook shows that Jeremy Corbyn and his party attained 86.2 million views on campaign films, contrasted with the only 24.5 million views for Boris Johnson and his team (Guardian News and Media, 2017). On the other hand, the three most successful campaign videos from political and political parties were by far produced by the Labor party:
- Rob Delaney on the National Health Services with a total of 13.3 million, and 6.8 million view on Twitter and Facebook respectively.
- Jeremy Corbyn 60 second challenge with a total of 6.9 million and 2.8million of Twitter and Facebook respectively.
- Scapegoating politician with a total of 6.5 million and 4.6 million on Twitter and Facebook respectively (Guardian News and Media, 2017).
Individual Involvement on Social-Media Impacts the Level of Participation in the Political Process.
Due to the proliferation of internet in the United Kingdom, new technology and social media has a large impact on political communication. Social media offers a platform for politicians and political parties to start political engagement through e-discussion, e-political campaigning, and e-information (Ahmad et al., 2019). Most importantly, individual involvement on social media creates an opportunity for politicians to engage the young population into political discussion. Ahmad et al. (2019), believes that individual social media involvement has created voters’ interest towards politics, and promoted political efficacy of the public which improves the political online and offline engagements. In the recent years, the internet has turned into a primary source of political participation and efficacy, hence impacting voting and campaigning (Ahmad et al., 2019). Political efficacy helps voters to understand more political affairs in a more comprehensive manner by acquiring political information from the internet. On the other hand, social media promoted the voter turnout ration among voters, since provides a platform which aid in voting and donating campaign for politics (Ahmad et al., 2019). Therefore, social media had provided an effective foundation for information sharing with a significant reach to large numbers and a way of engaging in political affairs.
Over the last few years, social media has been shown to impact several political ideologies and campaigns, as politicians and political parties continue to pass the agendas through different social media platform, such as, Twitter and Facebook. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labor Party, is one of the most successful politicians who have used social media platforms to pass their agendas and grow his popularity. Corbyn’s online campaign strategy is centered around creating viral persuasive content, and surpassing the media and breaking out of the bubble. Other strategies involve hosting Q&As sessions for online users watching from home to ask questions and receive instant responses from politicians. The sessions help to strengthen the public’s understanding of the politician’s agenda and link the speech to specifics in daily routines. Therefore, individual involvement on social media grows users’ interest towards political affairs, and promotes political efficacy of the public which improves the political online and offline engagements.
Ahmad, T., Alvi, A., & Ittefaq, M. (2019). The use of social media on political participation among university students: An analysis of survey results from rural Pakistan. Sage Open, 9(3), 2158244019864484.
Guardian News and Media. (2017, June 9). Labour won social media election, digital strategists say. The Guardian. Retrieved February 4, 2022, from https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jun/09/digital-strategists-give-victory-to-labour-in-social-media-election-facebook-twitter
Reeves, P. (2017). Social media in a Corbyn led Labour Party: some discussion points.