Social Media in Politics

In the past decade or so, social media has changed the way people interact, connect and view eachother. Social media affects everything now… friendships, daily purchases and even politics. Years ago, people never would have guessed that social media would take such a toll on a political campaign but the 2016 elections in the United States proved otherwise. Facebook and Twitter seemed to have played the biggest role in decided who would become the President of the United States.
Whether social media was considered a positive or negative regarding political campaigns, people will argue both sides. Let’s take a look at the good and the bad of political social media.


When Obama was running for president, Facebook seemed to have helped him greatly. It was an easy way for people to share his ideas, beliefs and where he stood. Facebook brings positives for many reasons. In class we learned about the 10 political uses for Facebook. Those include:

1. Facebook gives transparency.
2. Facebook has a huge viral capacity, making it easy to share.

3. Facebook allows “micro point of view” meaning that anything you share can have many followers or likes.

4. Facebook communicates.

5. Facebook creates politics out of politics.

6. Facebook connects people.

7. Facebook works for citizens.

8. Facebook is global.

9. Facebook promotes creativity.

10. Facebook humanizes.

All of the above are great reasons Facebook can help a political campaign. In 2012, Obama’s celebration of winning the election again was the most liked photo on Facebook racking up over 3 million likes.

Although Facebook can greatly help a campaign, there are also many negatives. The presidential race of 2016 proved this regarding news with President Trump.

“Fake News” became one of the most used phrases by Trump because of all of the false information that was floating around about him. A lot of this had to do with Facebook. Because it is so easy to share posts on Facebook, it makes “fake news” spread like wildfire. Quotes were shared about him saying things such as that he was giving away free plane tickets to people who want to leave the US and that many years ago he said that if he were to run for president he would run republican because “they are the biggest group of idiots in the world.” All of these things were false and really took a toll on his campaign.


Twitter was the most talked about social media platforms in the presidential race of 2016. Yes, Twitter can be used easily for sharing small quotes and stories but this year it was looked at very negatively. Donald Trump took a lot of his campaign to tweeting and while it may be comical in a way, it was viewed as immature and impulsive. Some of his tweets included:

Overall, social media has greatly affected political campaigns and continues to do so more and more.

Ana López on Digital Marketing

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Our class had the pleasure of listening to Ana López, previous head of Digital Marketing for Estrella Damm, speak about her experience and involvement in the journalism field. Through her involvement working with Estrella Damm, it was interesting to learn a little bit more about what goes into digital marketing, advertising campaigns, promoting brand awareness and market analysis of social trends.

Ana López attended school at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona where she had aurl double bachelor degree in journalism as well as social and cultural anthropology. She then received her masters degree in communications and advertising management at ESIC: Business & Marketing School in Madrid where she learned how to use digital marketing to attract the right target market when promoting a product. During this time she worked as an account director at Marco de Comunicacion. After graduating, she began working as a Brand Manager and later as the Head of Digital Marketing at Estrella Damm in Barcelona.

Estrella-DammEstrella Damm is one of Barcelona’s oldest brands and also a major part of the culture. It is a lager beer brewed in Barcelona and is now available in many different countries around the world. When López began working there, the company did not have much knowledge on the concept of digital marketing as it was just really taking off. She expressed when speaking with us that she was alone, she had no digital marketing department or digital team. López and her team focused on launching advertising campaigns, public relations and media planning. They also completely took over the companies Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and most importantly their Youtube channel.

The same year López starting working for Estrella Damm, they launched a 3 minute music video/commercial. The video was of a Swedish group that no one in Spain had heard of. In just one summer they reached over 2.5 million views on Youtube which resulted in the song being the most downloaded song of the summer in Spain. The video was filmed in Formentera, Spain which became the destination of the year. This advertising campaign increased their brand awareness by 225%.

Over the next couple of years, Estrella Damm focused on their social media presence,awareness
launched smaller campaigns and maintained relationships with key partners. They wanted to collaborate with these partners to grow digitally and expand brand awareness.

Estrella Damm has a different advertising approach as most companies. “Good things never end, there is always something to remind you” is the motto behind most of their campaigns. Spaniards are known for being relaxed so they do not focus on the beer itself but rather the good times that surround the beer and the Mediterranean ways of life. Their Instagram account is a perfect example of their marketing strategy. Right now, landscape photography is a huge social media trend. The goal is to blend in with social media trends as much as possible. Estrella Damm prides itself in being a Mediterranean beer, so instead of having photos of the same old beer bottle on the account, they have put their focus on photos from all around the Mediterranean Sea.

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After years of expanding, campaigning and focusing on digital trends, Estrella Damm had another record breaking video campaign in 2015. The video was a 10 minute short film featuring the famous actress, Dakota Johnson. The video quickly reached 5 million views and was awarded as the best campaign in Spain by Youtube. The campaign increased brand awareness in Spain by 5% which is crazy considering how popular the beer already was. Because of this campaign, they received awareness from all around the world including 30% increase in the UK.

Many things were learned from this class discussion.

  • Communication between the brand and the consumer has completely changed. Because technology and social media have evolved so much in the past couple years, there are many different ways for a brand to create awareness.
  • It is important to match the way you promote to the interest of the target audience. (i.e. using landscape photos on Instagram)
  • Analyzing the target audience (or place) is necessary. It is important to focus on the motivations and demographics of the area.
  • Make messages short, sweet and clear. This way, people will remember the little things without overanalyzing.
  • Companies need to start using technology and social media to digitalize their advertisements and campaigns because of how far they can reach audiences.

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Citizen Journalism in Syria


A citizen journalist is defined as ‘a citizen or group of citizens with an active role in different processes: picking up news, analysis and spread news and information.’ Citizen journalism only requires a recording device, a notebook and a desire to gather information so it is easy for anyone to become a citizen journalist no matter the situation. It is very controversial as many people, especially journalists, do not agree with the term.

However, the situation in Syria has caused news sources to stay away from sending AP-Foley-Manu Braboreporters to the area and has required them to rely heavily on the use of citizen journalism. Since the beginning of the war in 2011 over 450,000 deaths have occurred in Syria. Dozens of those deaths have been journalists and reporters from around the world. Because of the constant violence, bombings and mistreatment of people it has made it nearly impossible for journalists to safely travel to Syria. There have even been reports of ISIS targeting journalists and kidnapping or killing them. This has required news sources gather information in a safer, more interactive way.

rami_jarrahCitizen journalists are definitely essential in Syria right now. They are a key source for live and on the ground perspectives that international news media outlets are unable to do. Although they have to be careful about what they say and which side they take, they typically just report what is going on around them every single day.

While it may be safer for Americans to rely on these journalists however, the citizen 140956933_3448b081b8_zjournalists in Syria are risking their lives every single day to crucially report on the awful situation in Syria, specifically Aleppo. They are risking their lives every single day to shed light on the current state of the country. No, they are not trying to take jobs (mots of these citizen journalist’s in the riskiest areas are not even getting paid) or reduce the level of information released, they are simply trying to lower the risk of putting American journalists on the ground in such dangerous conditions.

A woman pushes a baby stroller as she rushes away after what activists said were airstrikes by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on a busy marketplace in the Douma neighborhood of Damascus, SyriaAfter further research, it seems that female citizen journalists seem to have the hardest time in these circumstances. Women are not allowed to simply roam around Syria without a male guardian. This reduces the amount of journalists on the grounds greatly because being a woman in Syria is hard enough, let alone traveling alone gather, recording and reporting difficult and controversial information.



What is Mobile Journalism?

Mobile journalism (also known as MOJO) is a newer form of multimedia that journalists use to gather, edit and share news stories. Mobile journalism is argued to be just as good as any news source however, you must relay on a trustworthy news source. Journalists use cameras, smart phones and tablets to gather all of the information which is later digitally published. However, all you really need to become a mobile journalist is a smart phone. Journalists who use mobile journalism are known as MOJO’s.

How to become a mobile journalist?

Anyone can become a mobile journalist and there are many different tools and tips on how to become the best MOJO. To start, you’re going to want to learn all of the basic steps.

  • Portable Power Device:
    • It seems as though phone battery life is getting shorter and shorter and the most important device needed for mobile journalism is a charged phone. It may seem obvious, but it is probably one of the biggest things that journalists will forget when reporting on a story.  You can get a portable power bank on Amazon for very cheap.


  • Microphone
    • iPhone microphones are perfect for simple tasks but when it comes to recording important stories or interviews, you may need to invest in a microphone extension. That way you can be sure to get the best sound and footage possible. All you need to do is plug the device into your headphone jack and it will make things easier to record. You can find the iRig Pre on Amazon for just EUR 40!

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  • Call Recorder
    • A lot of times mobile journalists may have to do over the phone interviews. This may be complicated to record as your device will already be in use. MOJO’s have invested in an app called TapeACall where you can easily record calls that you’re already on or calls you are about to make. This helps keep all of your recordings on one device instead of multiple, helping organization. You can get TapeACall on the app store today!


  • Periscope
    • Periscope is something that has really caught the eye of journalists. Periscope is a video streaming platform used by people all around the world to live stream events, videos, interviews and everything in between. It makes it easy to live stream footage to your followers. People will get a notification whenever you are live streaming and they can rewatch the stream for up to 24 hours after it is officially posted. Periscope is free and easy to use.



A few tips on how to be good mobile journalist:

  • Always have a fully charged phone.
  • Always have your phone on airplane mode as this will stop incoming phone calls and internet notifications from disrupting your filming.
  • Hold your phone horizontally so that the footage is easy to work with and not accidentally recorded upside down.
  • Always make sure the microphone is not being covered by your hand or being tampered with.
  • If you are recording in a louder area, sick to headphone microphones as they will be closest to the mouth.
  • Check the audio multiple times throughout to make sure nothing goes wrong.
  • Make sure to focus the camera on the person or object you are recording.
  • Make sure you have a stable shot. Preferably use a tripod if possible.
  • Have a backup light source incase you are in a dark setting.
  • Lastly, keep a pen and paper just incase something goes wrong with your device.

Changes in Instagram

screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-2-02-59-pmIn 2010, most people considered Instagram just a photo editing app, but since then it has blossomed into a huge and very popular social media site, reaching over 400 million users. Although Instagram doesn’t come close to as many active users as Facebook, it is still the second largest social media site to date (as shown in the infographic below). After just a few years, they already had more users than Twitter, who was once just below Facebook on the list. Over the past couple of years, Instagram has evolved from a photo sharing app to a messenger to live streaming videos.


Facebook may be the most popular social media site with almost 2 billion users but surveys revealed that most millennials actually prefer Instagram over Facebook. This is simply because people prefer visuals over text. Nowadays, people want the most amount of information and fast. Instagram makes it simple for people to quickly scroll through and see what others are doing. According to the Pew Research Center, almost half of the users check the Instagram app daily and 32% check it several times a day.

To become as big as they now are, Instagram has had to make several changes over the years. In 2010, it was very simply with very few filters screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-2-06-32-pm
and limited users. 2012 is when they added locations and tags making it easier for users to explore and expand their profiles which was when Instagram really seemed to take off. Over the years they added more filters and tools to edit photos, the option to share videos and an explore page, where you can take a look at profiles that Instagram thinks you may be interested in.


It wasn’t until 2016 when Instagram really changed the game. They gave themselves a complete makeover. They said goodbye to the retro polaroid looking camera icon and completely changed their color scheme to a more vibrant and exciting color scheme. According to The Telegraph, “Instagram was inspired by all the ways the community has grown and changed, and they wanted to create something that reflects how vibrant and diverse storytelling on Instagram has become.”

Not only did they change the looks of the app but also the features of it. They added Instagram stories, where a person can post a short video, screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-1-56-45-pmphoto or a Boomerang. These photos are then uploaded for anyone to see, and stay up for 24 hours. The difference between that and a regular
photo is that you do not receive likes, you can draw or type text on it and you can also track who views them.

Lastly, Instagram jumped on the “live stream” bandwagon where a person can start a stream of what they are doing in that exact moment for all of their followers to see. While streaming, you can see who is viewing at the specific time. People can also comment, making it easy to answer questions they might have.