BY LEO McGRATH
Social media has a vast influence in nearly every facet of day-to-day life, and politics are no exception. While the personal lives of people in positions of power have always been subject to scrutiny, it has never been easier than now to access that kind of information.
To anyone considering going into politics, I do not think I would be the first to tell you that meticulously documenting your existence on platforms that do not forget is not the way to go about your early life.
And to anyone currently in a position of power in the United States, I would suggest you stop now, especially after constant negative press covfefe.
Regardless of how social media makes past decisions more permanent, it also has a great deal of impact on how information coming from presidents is interpreted.
Former President Barack Obama rarely, if ever, discussed a topic of importance on social media. But since President Donald Trump has made a habit of addressing controversial news over his Twitter feed, it has begun to reflect negatively on him if he does not.
Take, for example, the recent issues in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump has had clear difficulties in providing a response to the issue that won’t cause excessive outrage among supporters and disagreers alike.
More than that, I personally take issue with the fact that Trump seemingly has no one to look over his tweets before he sends them out. There is a reason that people have speechwriters, editors and spokesmen, yet, to an extent, social media has made them pointless. Why should they bother helping a man when that man eagerly publishes his insight without them?
To make my point directly, I believe that Trump is far too immature in his handling of his social media. He constantly uses it to attack and belittle those who criticize him or even simply those whom he believes deserve it.
I will not say that social media is a place purely for business matters, even in the hands of those in charge of this country. Looking through Obama’s Tweets, even he used it for fun as often as he did for politics, whether it was a quip about basketball or sharing an article he thought was fun.
But there is a notable difference between using social media for fun and using it to make petty remarks towards colleagues.
Beyond how individuals handle social media, I do not think it is a place to discuss politics at all. A website is no place for the leader of the free world to release his two cents about a disaster or other such occurrence. I feel that it will inevitably lead to a disconnect between government and citizens if those in charge continue to retreat further into the internet and out of the public eye.
Also, while I respect Obama for finding a balance between using his Twitter account for personal and presidential reasons, I do not think those two should mix. While scrolling through his archives, I frequently saw Tweets about very important and heavy world topics published the same day, sometimes within hours of Tweets that were lighthearted quips about sports or media.
While I do not believe it is a problem that has an obvious answer, or even an answer at all, the people in charge of our country need to take more responsibility in what they are putting out there.