Week 4: Propaganda & Social Media

February 14, 2018

Week 4 Theme: Propaganda and Social Media

What specific features of social media make it a powerful tool for propaganda?


  1. What are you learning? Reviewing your completed work
  2. For discussion: What specific features of social media make it a powerful tool for propaganda?
  3. Review class participation, LEAP 2 assignment, reading and homework activities.

PLEASE COMPLETE Week 5 (Unexpected Consequences of Promotion and Marketing Propaganda) class assignments listed on the Pathwright website before Wednesday February 21 at 4 p.m.

CLASS PARTICIPATION. If you missed the “live” synchronous class on Feb 14 at 4 pm, you must watch it here and complete the task described in the video.


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  1. The feature of social media that makes it a powerful tool for propaganda is the ability for anyone to post anything they want to. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter allow people to voice their opinions and share it with their followers, even if they’re spreading disinformation or fake news. This shared information, or in some cases propaganda, then spread like wildfire. For example, Donald Trump has 47.8 million Twitter followers and he has been notorious for using Twitter to voice his opinions. This platform of social media makes it so easy for him to spread propaganda because anything says says or reposts is then seen by those millions of people almost instantly. This opinionated information that people are able to send out also isn’t filtered, so we have no way of knowing how reliable it is.
    Social media also allows famous people, like our president, to make their followers feel like they know them on a personal level. Insight into public figures and celebrities personal lives, like family photos, etc. can promote these public figures and I think that can also be seen as a form of propaganda.


  2. On social media, the feature that makes it such a powerful tool to me is its ability to suck people in. Social media is the one place that people can refresh, and look at almost 24/7. Unlike tv where you are only exposed to the propaganda that you see on a specific channel. Signs and billboards are also only effective to the people that are there to see it. When propaganda is posted on social media, it has the ability to reach millions from anywhere in just seconds. I always see memes and hear older generations talk about how this generation is literally glued to their phone. This makes it so easy for propagandists to reach so many and make a huge impact so much faster than a tv commercial or a billboard. While other mediums of sharing propaganda are effective as well, it just cannot compare to the draw of social media on people today. Every second, about 6000 tweets are posted on twitter and second later millions have already viewed these tweets. People check their phones constantly throughout the day for an update on all social media and this is why social media is such a powerful tool for propagandists.


  3. Social media makes for an extremely powerful propaganda tool for a number of different reasons. Social media allows for the widespread sharing of information and opinions, which can be both good and bad. Someone can send out a tweet, and within minutes it could go viral because of the number of retweets that they may get from their followers, and their follower’s followers, etc. This allows for people to spread a message on a much larger scale in a shorter period of time than was ever possible before. Another aspect of social media that makes it an effective propaganda tool is that it is highly conversational in nature. People are able to see the opinions of thousands of others, and they are typically able to respond with their own thoughts or add to what the first initial post was about. This makes for a larger impact when it comes to propaganda, because not only is it able to be shared on a huge scale, but it is also now becoming conversational and allowing for people to share their own thoughts and interpretations on any given subject.


  4. Social media has been a key tool for individuals to display their opinions and lives. The most powerful feature of social media is its ability to make content viral. Beneficial, effective, triggering, and even fake news are constantly shared by users. A video can become viral within minutes especially when its controversial. Viral content can be useful when trying to understands certain topic but it’s most likely a form of propaganda due to it being in your face and posted everywhere. The ability to share content easily by one click is dangerous and useful. Many people may share things by accident because it is so accessible. People are able to bounce ideas with one another and even strangers based on a single post that isn’t private. To me propaganda can’t become successful without the help of social media especially now when users rely on it more than ever.


  5. Social media is an extremely powerful tool for propaganda. With the internet being so prevalent in today’s society, it is extremely easy for propaganda to spread like wild fire. Once something on the web becomes viral, it reaches countless audiences; it is if you can’t escape it. When propaganda reaches one media platform (i.e. Facebook), due to the “sharing” tool, it is likely that it spreads to several other platforms (i.e. Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.). Since people are highly interested in social media today, it is very influential, which is another reason why it plays a huge role in propaganda. Thanks to social media, propaganda is all around us and is able to easily spread. With the continuous rise of social media, I believe that propaganda will always be relevant in our society.


  6. When thinking about a part of social media that makes it powerful in the use of propaganda would be a social media sites ability to use and sell a person’s information so they are seeing the specific ad’s and “suggested” pages that the site chooses for them. Facebook is one of the bigger known sites that will take everything you post on your profile, every page you click or view even once, everything you like and now react to, share, who you follow and interact with and will see all of that information to companies so that the ad’s you see on your site and the suggested pages you see are you scroll down your newsfeed are personalized to you. In this setting, it is extremely easy for companies to get responses from the person viewing them because they are seeing something they are interested in. It is an easy way to be influenced and persuaded into buying something or looking further into a particular product or topic while not even thinking it is more than Facebook just filling your page with their suggestions.


  7. I am a strong believer that social media impacts every aspect of our daily lives. Whether you use it for networking, socializing, or advertising, it is the biggest tool we have when it comes to getting our ideas and thoughts out into the public. Because everyone uses social media today, propagandists use this “tool” in attempts to persuade others to agree with their thoughts and ideas. As social media grows more and more popular, especially with the constant creation of new social media platforms, social media will always be an important tool for propaganda usage.


  8. The internet has become one of the main platforms for propaganda. Not only are you seeing propaganda in billboards, posters, and around your town, but it can be seen on our twitter feeds, facebook pages, and nearly every website you make your way to. Use of the internet allows people to go around the idea of “selling their story” to publishers, and allows them to share their own personal opinions and feelings all on their own. I really like the point made about how you can see advertisements about the things you view online, which is very creepy and true. You can be shopping online, and then when you go to another page you will see advertisements about the products you were just looking at.
    Controversial content on the internet is “more important” than accurate content because people are making more profit off of fake news. There are hundreds upon thousands of links you can find on your social media feeds that claim false information, or even lead to absolutely no where. This is what is referred to as click-bait. It is less about the content of the page, and more about the amount of people who are being brought to the website. More page views, more money.

    Side note: Professor Hobbs, really diggin’ your glasses!


  9. With the updates of new coding and technology advances, social media platforms have been able to learn to reach the exact market they are trying to get into. One specific feature of social media that makes it a powerful tool for propaganda is the algorithms developed personally in each users timelines. These algorithms created by the many engineers of these companies take the most popular news based on many factors (likes, views, comments, topics) and put it in your top newsfeed.
    This puts the most altered propaganda based on your personality to your main focus. These algorithms put the posts that you know you will want to comment on and have strong opinions or interest on.
    I think these new updates are bringing every post possible about the content they are interested in the viewer’s page. With that, they view more propaganda that even relates more to them than anymore else.


  10. The internet and social media itself play a huge role in propaganda dissemination. Social media is one of the most accessible platforms with a widespread reach. Social media allows for everyone to partake in propaganda. We can create our own and very easily post it with no justification. Social media is easy to use and post on and all it takes is likes and shares to make a post go viral. Because of how easy it is for things to spread on the internet from one platform to the next it is easy for organizations to take advantage of this and disseminate their own propaganda. You mentioned how Facebook can track what you are viewing and then provide advertisements for your interests. Since social media is tracking what you look at and your interests to give to companies it makes it that much easier to create propaganda targeted directly towards you and others like you. This makes social media an incredibly powerful tool when creating propaganda.


  11. Social media is beyond accessible. You can access it on so many different levels. The types of platforms you can gather information is rather extensive and incredible. This convenience makes it easy for propaganda to be disseminated. The second we open our phones we scroll by so many different ads or blog posts that are directly posted onto our social media accounts. This opportunity of access has definitely made propaganda a lot more visible in my life. Another feature of social media that creates an efficient platform for social media is the inability to control content. Sometimes you are able to control your content based on who you follow or who you are friends with. At other times you have no control over what is being posted through sponsored ads or what people decide to post or repost on their accounts. Although social media is a great tool for staying connected with friends and family, it also is a way for propaganda to stay connected in your life.


  12. I think that the most powerful aspect of social media that make it a powerful tool for propaganda is the convenience of it. First off, it allows anyone to send their thoughts out at any point in time. This can include businesses, celebrities, political figures, etc. They can tweet, post photos, videos and more all at the convenience of having something the size of an iPhone with them wherever they are. Now, with apps such as Snapchat and Instagram “Live” videos, we see companies and celebrities often “Live” film their event or daily routines. Additionally, there is no limit to how much social media they can use within a day. While on Twitter, you may be held to a character limit, you are not held to a tweet limit throughout the day. Companies and celebrities can use as many tweets, posts, photos etc. as they need throughout the day to get their point of view across to their audience and the rest of the public. Another convenient aspect of social media is that their followers and audience an communicate directly with them. If they have a problem, question or compliment then they can tweet right at the company, celebrity or even product page who can conveniently answer them within minutes.


  13. I believe the power our generation ecspecailly give to social media is the reason It is a strong tool for propaganda. For example, our generation is constantly glued to our cellphones looking at social media. Instagram and Twitter are the leading sources of social media that feed us propaganda. Every new page we follow or find interset in is feeding us messages of propaganda. The difference between they types of propaganda depend on the type of accounts we follow. Social media allows for us to connect with people from all over the world. Being able to speak your mind to billions of other people is a great way to spread propaganda. This is why internet and social media have such power and influence. popularity also comes into account when we look at the power of your word. if a famous person posts a video or message regarding negative propaganda they will influence large amount of people. With that said, It is really important to understand everything thing you re reading and hearing when on social media.


  14. The feature of social media that makes it a powerful tool for propaganda is the fact that people have the power to post whatever they want. Nobody but yourself can tell you what to do when you are behind the screen. It’s also an interesting concept because people feel like they can “hide” and whatever they say won’t have any implications. Social media gives everyone the opportunity to create propaganda and have a voice and persuade people all over the world. The ability for posts to go viral gives it even more power than anything that has ever existed.


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