Jodi Edna’s provides insight and an explanation of how social media is altering the relationship between media, such as reporters and journalists, and the president. Reporters used to be granted access to the president to conduct interviews, in turn establishing a relationship. With the recent surge of social media, the relationship amongst the two has started to deteriorate. The president and presidential candidates now feel that journalists have very little to offer. Presidents used to utilize journalists to publish their opinion on certain issues so the general public could read about it daily. Now, with social media such as twitter, the president can “tweet” his opinions to the public immediately, at a much lower cost. Journalists are also the ones who discover scandals and publish them, so high officials such as the president do not trust them. In a sense, the journalists do not have any positive qualities to offer the president anymore. Despite this, Edna explains journalists believe social media has several positive qualities because it provides citizens an opportunity to have a voice and connect with candidates.

Ashley Parker’s article discusses the major role and power twitter has brought to the campaign trail. Twitter is up to the second in terms of news, allowing the public to know everything that is going on. Similar to the Ron Paul article, Parker discusses how twitter allows the campaigns to reach several million people and connect with them. The campaign will be able to see what particular issues the public is not happy with and address them.

The politico article was a very interesting one discussing president Obama’s media appearances in 2012. President Obama appeared on several nontraditional, non-news channels, something that other candidates rarely did. Obama explained his reasoning for this was because the dominant news channels did not report on issues the American people cared about. Similar to Edna’s article, by appearing on these non-news channels Obama was not at risk. By going on Letterman, Obama is not going to be grilled about questions about foreign affairs or gun control. Rather, the conversation will be relaxed, probably talking about his kids or how basketball game is.

Meyrowitz discusses how the general public is becoming much more aware of the President’s personal life. Prior to social media, journalists were able to have conversations “off the records.” Now everything is on the record, and every word is monitored and analyzed. Meyrowitz explains how politicians are forced to make instant remarks and decisions, often damaging their image. Because America is so used to up to the second information from twitter, they expect their news to and presidential remarks to be instantaneous. This makes it much more difficult for the most important position in the world to appear perfect as so many Americans want it to seem. The president is supposed to be a perfect man with all the answers, but in this day and age that is just not plausible

Response:
I found the Edna article to be a very informative read. The main point that I took away from it, is that journalists do not have much to offer candidates anymore. Journalists used to play a vital role during the campaign because they were a medium for the president’s message.  They connected the president to the public and vice versa. Now I feel the journalists don’t bring much to the table in terms of the campaign. They are constantly searching for a scandal or taking a president’s word out of context in order to sell a story. As we learned last week, journalists are worried about ratings and money, and sensational stories sell. So why would a president do an interview or talk to the media if it is not going to help them? They can eliminate this headache and talk directly to the public via social media. Their message will not be misconstrued and they can formulate their thoughts without being put on the spot. Avoiding interviews and journalists only benefits the campaign.

Ashley Parker’s article discusses the benefits of twitter to the presidential campaign. The campaign officials are able to easily monitor what statements made by the president generated a positive response or a negative response. In a sense, it is like an instantaneous poll. If I were in charge of a campaign, I would communicate with twitter the week before a debate or appearance and see what issues they want discussed. I would sift through twitter and see what people are talking about and shape my agenda and  speech around that. In addition, I would read several blogs and do the same thing. Examples such as this are why social media are so beneficial to campaigns. They allow you to know what millions of Americans are saying without leaving the confines of your office.  Rather than conducting several million phone calls or focus groups to decipher which issues are important, you can find out with relative ease. Twitter has provided a much more efficient means of communicating and discovering information between candidates and voters.

Although I think it is not a bad idea, I do not believe French law can eliminate racist or offensive tweets. If someone is racist, they are going to continue to be racist, no matter the plat form. That is one negative aspect of twitter and the internet in general. I believe people are much more derogatory and unfiltered on twitter because they are sitting behind their computer. It is a lot easier to call seven footer Shaquille O’Neal a “stupid N-word” on twitter or a blog than it is to his face. People are often disgruntled and take to their computer to voice their displeasure and often hit submit without realizing the possible repercussions. As a result, things are often published that people wished weren’t. An example of this is when republicans were questioning if Obama was an American citizen and he went on the news and showed his documentation, Donald trump took to twitter and fired off five or six derogatory tweets. I remember people constantly “retweeting” him and going to his page and seeing they were all sent in a seven minute span. Shortly after, they were deleted and Trump apologized. It is instances such as these where twitter is bad. People get so mad and need someone to voice their rage to so what better place than twitter and a million of your followers? If I was in charge of a corporation or news outlet I would place in my contract for my employees a twitter clause. It would state that any remarks made on twitter are monitored and that particular employee is responsible. I’m not sure if corporations have this in their contract already, but in a generation where social media is evolving and here to stay, I think it is necessary.  It reminds me of the Parker article where she says “Twitter allows for damage to be done nearly instantaneously, but recovery can take much longer.”

A particular place where I see this constantly happening is college sports. Athletes are just like any other college student and can often do stupid things, but they are monitored much more closely. I’m reminded of the time Johnny Manziel, recent Heisman trophy winner, posted a picture of himself in a night club with a bunch of girls. He had a drink in his hand and he is underage. The media scrutinized him heavily for a week strait and he had to make a public appearance to apologize. If I was a coach, I would be like Coach K at Duke and not allow anyone on my team to have a twitter account. In this day and age where everything is monitored and student athletes could lose their scholarship based on one tweet, I just do not think it is it worth it. Twitter is like Jay-Z’s second album title; The Gift & The Curse.

The politico article about Obama’s soft media was interesting. I thought the strategy implemented by the Obama campaign was perfect. In a day and age where statements are over analyzed and misconstrued, why risk talking to a journalist? The soft media strategy avoids this dilemma and also appeals to another theme in American society, reality television. By appearing on shows such as Letterman, Obama is able to avoid talking issues and make a blunder. Rather, he is able to appear as a normal guy who loves his family and basketball. I think this is a trait voters are drawn to. They want a president who they can relate to and seem just like an average guy. Overall, I think it is a brilliant strategy. You utilize twitter to voice your opinions to the public in the way you want them to be perceived, and you utilize television to appear as an approachable guy. It is a very effective, low-risk high reward strategy.

Finally, Meyrowitz discusses how presidential hopefuls are attempting to appear more average.  Social media has allowed the public to get a glimpse of the president’s personal life, something only journalists were previously able to do.  It is now popular for politicians to discuss their humble beginnings or how many jobs they worked during law school. During debates it is a battle to appear more average. On Obama’s twitter account you can see pictures captured by his daughters of him sitting at the dinner table with him. If I was in charge of a campaign, I would capture several of these candid pictures. My personal twitter feed is full of people posting pictures of people sleeping on a couch or doing regular “college” stuff. I think the more politicians post candid pictures of them being an average guy, I think the more that will resonate with the public. Meyrowitz says politicians are a product of the public’s perception of them. I believe the public no longer is in search of a dominant personality candidate, rather an average guy who they could have a beer with. That’s what twitter provides. The opportunity for candidates to show the public who they really are, not who the journalists and media portrays them to be.

Questions: 1) Do you believe the “soft media” approach takes about from investigative journalism?
2) Do you believe you should be able to report derogatory comments on twitter?
3) What features would you add to twitter to make it more politically friendly?

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