The Canadian federal election has come and gone. Throughout the last few weeks leading up to the election I have observed some interesting things. As i eluded to in my previous post about the dos and don’ts of voting in this past federal election; many people seem to rely on social opinions for their political views. This occurs subconsciously but is this just a generation y phenomenon?
With the rise of social media it has become easier for individuals to connect and socialize with one another. But as humans, we seek to get our peers approval on life experiences, opinions and situations. During the 2015 Canadian election, I have observed and come to the conclusion that this dire need for social approval has truly become a social norm. I have decided to call this social acceptance paradox during election time, the “Social Media Voting Phenomenon”. There are many people on social media sharing their personal opinions and other individuals blindly agreeing with their opinions ( In most cases) because they want to be respected by their social groups. This is obviously human nature, as human beings want to be respected by the people they care about, even if this means jumping on a political bandwagon. This regular occurrence has changed the way people share their opinions throughout their social networks. I have observed that many individuals prefer to stay out of an online debate even if their views differ with another person. This occurs because individuals in most cases do not want to damage public relationships and they do not want to deviate from status quo’s viewpoints.
Before the election I observed individuals posting news stories, opinions and information all over social media with some of this information being true and some being false. One of the things I noticed circulating on social media was a Facebook event called, “Harper’s going away party”. I am not sure who created this event, but all i know is that thousands of individuals were invited and once individuals saw there friends attending this event, social acceptance essentially took over. I noticed individuals attending this event because they were influenced to attend due to social acceptance alone. I am not saying that everyone who attended this event was due to social acceptance, because I know there were many individuals who were educated voters. I am talking about the individuals who do not follow politics or the news but decided to join the event because they trusted their peers political opinions. The question is did this occur because individuals believe their peers beliefs and values align with their own? This is definitely possible because as individuals we only befriend other individuals who have either similar personalities, beliefs, values, backgrounds etc to our own. If this example doesn’t work for you then no problem, because there was another influential political post circulating the internet. This post was a voting quiz that asked individuals some vague questions and then it tells the individual who to vote for based on their answers. This quiz was unconvincing because it was hosted on an unreliable website and only asked approximately 10 questions. I know many individuals who actually took this quiz and announced that the answer they received was going to be the candidate they vote for in the election. This is an uneducated voter because although they are attempting to vote based on values and beliefs, they are basing their vote off of an unreliable source that is most likely bias.
In conclusion, as long as social media is in existence then the social media voting phenomenon will occur as social approval, group think and social acceptance seem to be some of the most influential sources for our decisions. Let me get this straight, I am not saying that everyone on social media was influenced to vote for a particular candidate because of their peers. I am saying that this phenomenon had more influence on individuals in this past election than it has ever had and this is because social media is a central part of our lives.