In a bid to buy America’s youth, Donald Trump has put his billions to work again in purchasing a geo-filter along the lines of ‘Donald Trump vs Crooked Hilary‘ – one which is apparently set to shift as the debate progresses.
On the one hand, it’s a long way ahead of the election ‘strategies’ we have seen in Ireland to date (a certain new party that apparently consisted of just a hashtag comes to mind…). It is also great, I guess, to see the youth vote and conversation being rallied in politics.
Both candidates have bought filters on regional level before, but this step takes ‘new social’ campaigning and debate to a national level.
On the other hand however, it again shows us just how superficial the mask of the friendly and ‘democratic’ branding of social media platforms is.
Casper may look like a friendly ghost but views are being filtered and squewed through a not-so-transparent spectre. Whether on the old and established Facebook or the new ‘anti-establishment’ of Snapchat, eyes are being bought by the highest bidder are now the established norm.
This is nothing new of course. It is just the same with many ‘old media’ content providers, from America to North Korea – under both private and government ownership.
But we do need to stop viewing social media as some magical democratic leveler – all because us mere mortals can post every rancid brain fart we have, the very same as Donald Trump.
It’s not the same.
And a chrippy bluebird, friendly ghost or CEO who lives in a hoodie and ‘donates’ money to selected charity but evades paying taxes should not make a difference to how we filter the filterers.
We simply need to view these platforms the same as any other form of media before them – with a discerning eye, a hunger for proof of ‘reason to believe’ and good dashing of salt thrown over their sugar coated packaging.
Wouldn’t it be great to see an information revolution – just like we are seeing a food one. One where we care more about what goes into our heads as much as our mouths.
No, I’m not naive enough to think ‘Digital Utopia’ could ever come close to existing but the striving for it matters, surely.