Impact of Web-based communication on public attitudes and political policy making

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Impact of Web-based communication on public attitudes and political policy making

Web-based communications especially social media has become the driving force of public opinion. Platforms such a Facebook, Twitter, and blogs have a great impact on public attitudes and policymaking. People are using online platforms to provide information that affects the public’s opinion. Activists use web-based communications to influence more people to support their campaign. The platforms have led to public participation in policymaking. Additionally, web-based communications are used in persuading other people towards certain behaviors. Web-based communications have proven effective in influencing people’s attitudes, promoting public participation in policymaking, and persuading their behaviors.

Web-based communications have been linked to a change of peoples’ attitudes and political process directly or indirectly. For instance, during the EU referendum, social media plays a huge role. The supporters of Brexit build momentum online while settling a tone of the debate in all platforms for social networking (Polonski 3). The supporters largely used social media to influence more people to join the campaign. The online campaign influenced even the undecided voters into joining the ‘leave’ side. Leave activists were five times more than remain activists. With this number, the leave activists were able to build a perception that the majority of the public were supporting the ‘leave’ side. This attracted even more people supporting Brexit (Polonski par3). The leave activists used emotionally charged message characterized by the rapid spread of ideas. This led to loss of the battle for remain activists online even before losing it on the ground.

Web-based communications have changed public participation in policymaking. For example, through social media, there is access to various opinions that shape policymaking (Hong & Sung-Min 126). Through social media platforms, more people are now able to give their opinion. Today, leaders are aware that they will be judged by the public on any step they take. Therefore, the public is more engaged in all stages of policymaking. The public is no longer just a consumer of public services. Rather, citizens are now both consumers and producers (Hong & Sung-Min 127). With the popularity of web-based communications, citizens have formed a new form of civic activism. This is where more and more people are participating in the policy process.

Additionally, web-based communications are used in persuading other people towards certain behaviors. For instance, producers of information use social media platforms to influence other people. For example, they use Facebook in an attempt to change peoples’ attitudes towards a certain political candidate to cause (Weeks et al. 221). By acting as opinion leaders in all social media platforms, they provide information whose purpose is to persuade other people about certain events (Weeks et al. 222). For example, where peer pressure is considered a motivating force, opinion leaders provide information on young people voting which motivates other young people to go and vote. Artists who are also considered as role models for certain populations like youths post their pictures may be voting influencing this population to come out and vote or participate in a certain event.

Clearly, web-based communications have proven effective in influencing people’s attitudes, promoting public participation in policymaking, and persuading their behaviors towards certain events. Social media platforms have proven to be a major driving force in shaping public opinion and influencing public attitude. Leave campaign during the EU referendum proved the power of social media platforms in influencing public attitude and persuading them towards certain events such as voting. Social media platforms have also proved effective in increasing public participation in policymaking.

Work cited

Hong, Choi & Sung-Min, Park, ‘Social Media’s impact on Policy Making’ SERI Quarterly,       2011, 125-129.

Polonski, Vyacheslav, ‘Impact of social media on the outcome of the EU referendum’ EU          Referendum Analysis, 2016. Available at https://www.referendumanalysis.eu/eu-        referendum-analysis-2016/section-7-social-media/impact-of-social-media-on-the-            outcome-of-the-eu-referendum/

Weeks Brian, Ardevol-Abreu Alberto & Gil de Zuniga, Homero, ‘Online Influence? Social        Media Use, Opinion Leadership, and Political Persuasion’ International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Volume 29, Issue 2, (2017), 214-239.