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.

Valentí Santjuan


Santjuan is a journalist who has used his passion, strength and determination to compete in many strenuous events. He started off running marathons and almost a dozen ironmans (which consist of a 3.86 km swim, 180.25 km bike ride and a 42.20 km run… without a break). But most impressively, completing to Ultramans which is a 3 day endurance challenge composed of a 10 km swim through the ocean, 145 km bike ride (I’m not talking a flat bike ride through a city, they endure climbs of up to 6,000 feet) on day 1, a 276 km bike ride climbing up to 4,000 feet on day 2 and ending with a casual 84 km DOUBLE marathon (because why stop at just one?). When hearing about Valentí Santjuan, I was expecting a bland journalist, not someone so strong, driven, inspiring and passionate about his life and past times even when enduring many hardships along the way.

While Valentí was conquering the world with his strength, he was also running a Youtube channel. Many years ago, Valentí started working in the journalism field. He quickly realized that he was not a huge fan of having bosses and coworkers tell him what to do. He also went through a difficult time ending a long relationship and sadly losing his mom in the process. He realized life is short and this is when he started up a Youtube channel with videos including talk shows and interviews.

Valentí has a couple different Youtube channels based on what the audience is maxresdefaultinterested in. One is radio/talk show style and another  focusing on sports. He explained that is important to make content for everyone or the amount of viewers/ subscribers will be limited. Combined with multiple channels, he has more than 100,000 subscribers and millions of views. His Youtube channels have helped him grow into a popular social media presence.

dddddddThe cool thing about what Valentí does is that he does not have one specific boss. As mentioned in our class he has multiple bosses: his audience, the brands he promotes, his Youtube channel and most importantly himself. His audience is what keeps his channel going, essentially they are the reason his Youtube channel is considered his job. He stated that “without his viewers, he would be nothing.” Second, sponsors request that he incorporate and promote their brand into his Youtube videos or social media platforms. They will pay him for each las-cosas-importantes-deben-entrar-listas_media_1-1441653414395advertisement resulting in lots of money made. Youtube is another one of his bosses in the sense that they control what he can and cannot post. Without the help of Youtube, he would not have viewers. Lastly, he is lucky enough to call himself his main boss. He is in charge of what he wants to promote and post as well as what he does to reach the level he has reached.

While Valentí considers himself a journalist, he also is a Youtuber, a brand, a producer, an entrepreneur, an athlete and an inspiration to people all over the world.

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.

Google Tools for Journalists


Google is the most popular search engine in the world, racking up roughly 1.6 billion visitors every month. Some people argue that Google knows more about us than the government does. This is because people are constantly searching everything, all the time. Who is Justin Bieber Dating? Google it. What is the best restaurant near me? Google it. When will Donald Trump be impeached? Google it, Google it, Google it.

Because it seems that Google knows just about everything, they have set up multiple tools to help people access information as efficiently as possible. Journalists have picked up many of these tools to help them gain access to information and use it towards their everyday work. Here are some of Google’s most popular tools:

Google Search:

This is by far the most simple and common tool that Google offers. Everyone uses it, it is free and there is no special way to access it. It is simply just the first thing that pops up when on Google, a search bar. Users can type anything into the search bar and thousands of links will popup. The results are shown in order of popularity, your search history and your most commonly used sites.


As shown above, Google searches can be separated into segments depending on what you are looking for. News will give you the most recent news articles relating to the topic. Videos and images separated simply the visuals of the topic. Lastly, different tabs will appear based on what you are search like maps, shopping, flights or books.

Google Alerts:

Google alerts is one of the most common digital tools used by journalists. It sets up a google-alerts-bellsystem that notifies you every time a new article is posted about your specific topic. You can set up alerts about anything you want from politics to puppies. It is very simple as all you have to do is set up an alert on any topic and Google will either email or text you when needed.

How to create a Google alert:

  1. Go to Google Alerts
  2. In the search bar type in the topic you would like to receive alerts aboutscreen-shot-2017-02-19-at-2-56-20-pm
  3. Click “create alert”
  4. From there, you can edit your alerts and change notification times, types of notifications, language, how many results you want and what account will get the alert.



Google Trends:

For journalists, the most important part about their job is making things appealing to their audience. This means that they have to stay up to date on trends in media so readers can stay connected. Google trends makes this easy by giving you access to trends around the world based on popularity, location and whether you want trends from the day, week or year. Here it will give you featured insights that are currently trending:





screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-3-06-20-pmYou can also find out what the most popular searches are at the moment. For example, if you are doing an article about the current election in France and the one of the most common searches in that area are “Who is Marine Le Pen?” and “Who is Benoît Hamon?”, you are going to want to give a brief background about the two candidates.




Google Public Data Explorer:

Google Public Data Explorer is one of the most helpful tools for journalists to gain access to databases around the world. It provides public data from a range of international organizations and academic institution. It makes large datasets easy to access and understand. They offer everything from case studies and articles to graphs and charts.

Google News Lab:

In 2015, Google decided they wanted to provide training and outreach for journalists around the world so they created Google News Lab. Google News Lab is an online training center that provides in-depth training about Google tools for reporting and storytelling. The sessions last from 1-3 hours and can be done at anytime or at a host organization leading a class. They offer many courses that teach you how to use Google tools in research and writing based on different topics. This includes investigative reporting, data journalism, multimedia storytelling, safety and security, verification, publishing and monetization, AMP and Youtube.



Social Networking in 2017

From Youtube to Twitter to LinkedIn, social networks are quickly taking over the world. Most people would call most of their social media sites their main source for news information. In 2017, it is recognized how much these networks are truly changing everything. They are changing peoples opinions, privacy and what a person does with their day.

The 2016 election in the United States was one for the books. Many people believe that the media lied to us, but really we are the media. Things that people share, post and read on social media sites will skew information to make you believe that things are a certain way. It’s time to look at the way that social media takes over everything we do and although many things go into this, privacy is something that people need to think about the most.

People are constantly posting exactly what they are doing… all… the… time. They think nothing of it, but little do they know that they’re posting too much information about themselves that they may think is private. Although sites like Facebook have a privacy policy, nothing you post on the internet is actually private.

You might even think posting something as small as what you ate for dinner but now, just that picture gives away what state you live in. Then you post a photo of you and your friends at one of their houses… now it is narrowed down to the town you live in. You Snapchat a video of your dog on a walk and now you’ve given away the neighborhood you live in. Without your knowledge you have consented for strangers to find out exactly where you are and when you’re there.

This is just the beginning of the privacy issue. When you open up Facebook and check into a location, have you ever really thought about the fact that Facebook has your location in the first place? These are things that people need to start thinking about, because who is else there to trust with your location besides your family and yourself?