On-line and Off-line Influences

The readings this week concerning social media and other visual and non-visual methods of communication for populists were, in my opinion, a great way of displaying the networks required to bring populists together as well as the dispersal of the message. It highlights Postill’s message of there being substantial interaction between media, while also highlighting the impossibility of blaming a single piece of media or medium for media for the success of populists and populist parties. On top of this, as we get as well from Postill, everyone can and does use these tools, and just because there is a successful campaign does not necessarily mean that social media is the only thing responsible for that success.

I would argue that one of the things that social media has helped with is spreading specific vocabulary related to populist goals transnationally (especially the US/Europe vector) however as we see from Doerr, it is not only social media that helps to spread these images, specific political parties are involved in translating these images in different ways to match contexts. Despite this, I think that Kramer’s point about populists communicating identity identity is a central element of a lot of their use of mainstream social media. The ease of sharing the visual media associated with their particular populist movement in the shape of memes, posters, conspiracy, etc. has meant that a common vocabulary has developed, one that can then be enforced if the leader also uses this same vocabulary in either the mainstream media or on the same social media platform. These pieces of visual media allow immediate recognition of like-minded individuals, and even when they are translated, if the visual element of the media is the same, there is still the possibility of understanding outside of language barriers (mass media can even play the role of translator if there is a particular controversy around it). I want to emphasize here that this is not a thing new to social media, pamphlets, zines, and other forms of paper media have played this role for some time. What I will restate is that the transnational movement that these visual elements have when they are posted to a common social media space.

Perhaps not directly related to this week, but I found this article interesting: One Woman’s Mission to Rewrite Nazi History on Wikipedia

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