I’ve been talking about social media and elections again … who knew I’d have to do this so frequently? An extract:

Social media is more embedded in people’s lives than ever before – most people don’t overthink their use of digital platforms.

The four biggest platforms currently in use (albeit differently by different demographics) are Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram. Three of those are owned by Facebook and, as Hilary Clinton said recently, “When Facebook is the principal news source for more than half of the American people, and the only source of news that most of them pay any attention to, and if it announces that it has no responsibility for the airing of false ads … how are you supposed to get accurate information about anything, let alone candidates running for office?”

For younger users, Instagram has grown in popularity, although Snapchat still has its place (and has recently been used by the UK government). Tik-Tok (formerly music.ly) is also widely used by teenagers and recently banned political adverts.

Social media offers portability, availability, searchability, interactivity, many-to-many messaging and increasing personalisation. It offers a space for ‘sharing, connecting and engaging, with an expectation that one’s actions will be observed’, although there’s less recognition that users will be observed by big data algorithms as much as other people.

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