Social Media and Political Leadership
In recent years, technology and the internet have expanded significantly, thereby opening opportunities to influence and manipulate the public’s opinion on specific matters. The internet provides an informative platform where people can exchange ideas and opinions. Leaders have also joined social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, to communicate with their followers (Araujo and Neijens 637). Influential people may motivate or influence people to make irrational political decisions through social media. Social platforms play significant roles in enhancing business, politics, and organizational structures. Although social media is used for diverse purposes, world leaders can promote their ideas effectively and influence people toward a common goal.
One of the leaders that I admire most is Barrack Obama. He is active on social media and openly expresses his opinion on political and governance matters. Additionally, he plays a significant role in motivating people, especially those aspiring to be leaders. Obama was the first United States President to use social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat as official communication tools. He was the first to go live on Facebook, Tweet under the @POTUS handle, and use Snapchat filters (Bogost 1). Therefore, influential leaders can take advantage of social media to tackle matters affecting people.
Obama is vigorous on social media, especially on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. He uses these platforms to comment, offer ideas, and inspire people. Given his huge following on social media, anything he communicates is shared across the world, influencing a wide population. Obama regularly uses social media to inspire people regarding different social and economic issues. Social media is a powerful tool, especially in the 21st century, since most people have access to the internet and can read and respond immediately to any particular issue of interest.
Leaders who are on social media have a significant advantage over their counterparts who do not approve of such communication channels. Therefore, leaders have a role of informing, advising, and inspiring the online community that follows them. I would urge Obama to take advantage of the number of followers on social media and engage them by replying to their comments to understand their feelings on diverse issues. Obama has experience in leadership; therefore, many people are likely to embrace his opinions on political matters. For example, Obama can play a crucial role in encouraging people to participate in the voting process.
For instance, Obama on Twitter urged people to vote as a sign of creating opportunities, making a change and promoting justice, equality, and fairness. Additionally, the former president uses visually-aided graphics to show people the importance of voting. Before the elections, Obama posted a video on “IWillVote.com” on the importance of voting. Therefore, by taking advantage of the people who follow him, Obama can make a positive influence on people.
Obama’s leadership approach may be regarded as situational. He changes his approaches depending on the situation faced. Given that he was a president, people still view him as a leader who can be trusted whenever he gives an opinion (McCleskey 118). Hence, it is important to understand his target audience when commenting on certain issues. He should realize that some people view him as an icon. Thus, it is imperative to be sensitive when posting and commenting on his social media platforms. Moreover, Obama can reach a global audience since his messages are shared across various platforms. Opinion leaders have taken advantage of social media to communicate and offer opinions on specific issues, thereby affecting citizens.
Araujo, Theo, and Peter Neijens. “Friend Me: Which Factors Influence Top Global Brands Participation in Social Network Sites.” Internet Research, vol. 22, no. 5, 2012, pp. 626-640.
Bogost, Ian. “Obama Was Too Good at Social Media.” The Atlantic, 2017, www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/01/did-america-need-a-social-media-president/512405/. Accessed 12 Nov. 2018.
McCleskey, Jim Allen. “Situational, Transformational, and Transactional Leadership and Leadership Development.” Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, vol. 5, no. 4, 2014, pp. 117-130.