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The Politics of the Public Opinion

http://mashable.com/2011/09/11/week-in-digital-politics-18/

It is not difficult to prove that Facebook has revolutionized the modern friendship and has completely transformed the way information is spread. Although this is more often seen in social situations, now that businesses and companies can make Facebooks as well, this transformation is continuing to affect even more aspects of modern society.

Facebook used to be a way to merely reconnect with old friends and possibly find new ones. Now it is more of a way to gain information, make relevant posts, and display your interests, as it has become the most widely used social networking site in the world.

A recently added feature groups together common posts that multiple friends have made. For example, “35 of your friends have posted about 9/11” showed up on my profile yesterday, and I was able to read all of my friends posts honoring those who sacrificed their lives ten years ago. Facebook has grown from a social networking site to even spread news and display people’s political views and opinions. It is how I found out about Amy Winehouse’s death, the disappearance of a girl from my hometown, and other important and shocking stories. These stories are spread much faster on Facebook than they are by word of mouth or even news services.

As displayed in the link I posted, there has been a social media experiment entitled “The Likeable Constitution” where the full Constitution, each individual amendment, and the Bill of Rights have been separated into likeable Facebook pages. The Facebook community now has access to see which are the more popular pages. For example, the first amendment, freedom of speech, religion, and the press, has almost ten times more likes than the third amendment, which prohibits quartering soldiers out of wartime. This displays popularity and relevance very clearly.

Facebook is not only displaying people’s political opinions, but it is affecting politics as well. Politicians, as well as other celebrities, have pages which people are able to like. Seeing a politician’s popularity among one’s own Facebook friends can more effectively show a Facebook user who the most popular candidate is rather than traditional polls. Twitter, another popular social networking site, ended Representative Anthony Weiner’s term in congress by rapidly publicizing a private scandal. These social networking sites have transformed the public opinion and the way people gather information, tightened the Strong Triadic Closure property, and connected the entire world.

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