Monday, May 18, 2015

Bernie Sanders is popular on social media because he is actually saying something

By Richard Barry

Nick Corasaniti at the New York Times begins a profile of Bernie Sanders and his surprisingly effective use of social media like this:
The quotations he posts, rarely pithy, are often sayings he thinks up in the shower. The photographs he puts up sometimes show him frowning, while others show him gazing oddly into the horizon. And he does not seem to care about the importance of videos.

Corasaniti writes that the 73-year old Sanders (as if even using a computer at that age is a miracle) has  "emerged as a king of social media early in the 2016 presidential campaign, amid a field of tech-savvy contenders."

He continues:
Mr. Sanders, an independent who describes himself as a socialist, has stuck to an idiosyncratic method: posting images that share a quotation, which he has either written himself or dug up from a historical figure and then burned onto a photograph. (President Theodore Roosevelt and President Dwight D. Eisenhower are among those he has recently cited.)

And the thing is that Sanders is using social media "all wrong" by putting up longish posts and avoiding buzzwords that might drive traffic and using corny graphics and not sharing meaningless details about his personal life, and still the traffic comes.

How could that be?

Personally, I love the historical quotations because it has all been said before, though we sometimes need to be reminded of that fact.

Sorry for sounding like a ideologue here, but some time ago people with all the money, access to power, and political clout decided that a whole range of ideas were simply crazy and only entertained by foolish and "unserious" people. Most of these "crazy" ideas aren't new, they simply have no mainstream legitimacy. It would therefore be unwise for anyone seeking office to rely too much on them in a campaign.

A guy like Sanders comes along and starts talking about the military-industrial complex, single-payer healthcare, taking care of veterans, effective climate change action, tuition-free college, bad trade deals, serious Wall Street reform, real progressive tax policy, doing something about the wealth gap (instead of just talking about it), changes to campaign finance laws, social democracy, and on and on.

Just maybe Bernie Sanders is doing well with social media because a lot of people (younger people?) are sick to death of politicians trying to figure out every angle on every issue so they can grab the biggest chunk of voters sitting in the middle. I think they call that triangulation.

Maybe it has nothing to do with how well Bernie Sanders is using the accepted rules of social media and more to do with people who think it's time we started to believe, and have leadership who believe, that so many of the things that would truly improve our society, though they may not be new ideas, can be done.

Can I get a "like" for that?


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  • You are right: it is about substance. Although I have to disagree with Corasaniti: I think Sanders' stuff looks really good. Most Republicans would be smart to get a layout artist as good as his.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 5:09 PM  

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