Written by: Ian Moyse
We all know Donald Trump for his tweets – every day seems to bring a more provocative post.
In fact, the President is more closely associated with social media than ever. From the sheer volume of Twitter posts (36,000 and rising), to the use of Facebook marketing during his campaign and now speculation of Russian involvement in pumping Facebook with divisive posts during the 2016 campaign.
The question is, if such an individual can leverage social media this well to win the Presidency and dominate the world’s press, where could this take us?
For this I give credit to a great social and cloud friend Dez Blanchfield , who first raised this possibility with me. Who may we see as a future president, who could leverage social on a scale never considered before, who could come from nowhere and change the face of political elections for ever?
Not an episode of Black Mirror
Mark Zuckerberg , that’s who. No, this isn’t the plot for an episode of Black Mirror. Consider this. Five years ago, who would have ever believed Trump – the host of the Apprentice, whose name as brand outweighs anyone we’ve ever seen (yes even the Kardashians) – would be elected to the role of President?
What could Zuckerberg leverage? The big data Facebook has on its 2.07 billion monthly users is immense. The analytics it records and stores of our every movement, like, share, and who we connect with, gives them incredible insight into how we would likely react to something (and vote).
The more we utilise this social platform the more ubiquitous it becomes. Facebook knows more about us as a population in real time than anyone has before in history. The extreme power they hold is not in their brand, their size or even their technology. Their power as a social platform comes from the data they hold and the insights they gain from this.
A social-political power struggle
So, think again of Zuckerberg. Should he be convinced to run for an electoral role, what influence could he bring to play? How would he use the Facebook platform to influence what you read, what you feel? How would he use the timing of posts and tone of voice to influence end-users?
Do not underestimate the power of social media in political power struggles of the future. We have seen it already with Trump in a small way. As time progresses and the political and power game changes, we will undoubtedly see new boundaries challenged. We are already hearing calls for new rules and laws to protect the use of social to change how people think, act and vote!