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Why Social Media’s Torrent of Political Criticism is Harmful

How the public views a particular politician or political leader is of paramount importance in a democracy because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up allowing people to get elected or alternatively to get ousted from their positions and replaced with someone or the other that might be a great deal better at doing the job that they are supposed to do. This is why political polls and the like are so common.

Polling people about their opinions on leaders and the like is by no means a new invention with all things having been considered and taken into account. It has been used historically through various methods to figure out how people feel, and people often expressed their dissatisfaction with political leaders through a number of outlets including sending letters to newspapers and the like. It is pretty common for people to not like a politician since most societies are highly pluralistic and they will have a diverse range of opinions among their citizenry.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that social media has in many ways amplified the criticism that politicians and public figures end up receiving. Whereas previously you would need to send a letter to a newspaper or to the politician directly or voice your opinion within your social group, nowadays all you really need to do is go on Twitter and tweet about whatever it is that you are feeling. You can even direct this criticism right at the person that it is targeting because major political leaders all have social media accounts that they can use to connect with their people.

However, while it is definitely a good thing that people can speak directly to leaders on platforms like this, it has also created a very low level of discourse. Whenever someone criticizes a political leader, other people might agree or perhaps even repost this criticism as a matter of course if they also dislike the same individual regardless of whether or not the criticism is valid.

What this has essentially done is that it has created the type of situation wherein people have ended up not obtaining any context. They just see the criticism and absorb it, without really understanding any of the subtleties or nuances of whatever they are reading about. This can also be seen in how people perceive news articles because many simply read the headline on a social media platform and form an opinion without having actually read the article in the first place, something that prevents them from being able to fully understand what is being discussed.

It is clear that a lot needs to be done about this. Criticizing someone has become a pretty easy way for someone or the other to build a following on social media, and much of the discourse that is involved in this is not productive in any way at all. This is a truly catastrophic occurrence because it makes it really difficult for people to fully understand the events of the world, and social media platforms need to work together to make things better in the future.


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