If you were in any doubt about the impact of social media in today’s political landscape, then you don’t have to look any further than the presidential elections back in November. It’s becoming increasingly important for a politician to connect with their supporters on a personal level.
America’s two most recent presidents both understood that very well, with both Barack Obama and Donald Trump communicating with their multimillion Twitter followers to great effect during the 2008, 2012 and 2016 campaigns.
With this in mind, Facebook’s new feature might help the millions of people around the world to have their say in the political affairs that matter to them.
On Monday, Facebook released a new tool for all its mobile and desktop users in the United States, and it looks like it will be pretty useful for people online who want their voices to be heard without having to deal with the vitriol that comes with expressing your political views online. The new feature is called Town Hall, and it allows people to talk to their local politicians in an open forum, just like you would in a regular town hall.
Do you live in the United States, and have something to say to your local governor or congressperson? Here’s how to use Town Hall on Facebook. The first step is, perhaps surprisingly, logging into Facebook, and finding the Town Hall section on the settings page. Once you get there, then simply enter your home address to have a look at all the representatives in your area.
Should your area support the Town Hall feature, you will then be shown all the politicians in your area, and you can visit their official page or message them directly on Facebook. Should the situation require it, you can even use the messenger service to directly call your the politician of your choice.
This feature has just come into play over the past week, but we’ve known for it for about a month. Mark Zuckerberg talked about the feature last February as part of a conscious attempt by the Facebook CEO to address some of the social infrastructural problems, in an attempt to create a “global community”.
He said: “Our next focus will be developing the social infrastructure for community—for supporting us, for keeping us safe, for informing us, for civic engagement, and for inclusion of all.”
Town Hall is just the latest in a series of tools being deployed by Facebook that encourage its users to take a more active role in politics. Facebook also announced they were rolling out election reminders that will hopefully encourage people to vote, and last October they released a special feature that allowed users to see who’s on their ballot, and even endorse a presidential candidate.
What’s become apparent in the past year or so is that social media and politics are inextricably linked, and Facebook are doing all they can to adapt to this new development.
Source: Viral Thread