You cannot run or hide from social media-ask a politician

Terblanche N.S. (2011)


Politicians try to distinguish themselves from others and, as a rule, devote a great deal of their time on 'brand'-building exercises. Some would go out of their way to attract attention and, for that reason, foster a relationship with the media. The Web 2.0 has enabled social media that not only changed the ways in which politicians' interact with the masses but also brought speed and scale to exposure in the public domain unparalleled before. This paper attends to three cartoons illustrating activities of President Jacob Zuma of South Africa. The cartoons are analysed for the presence of satire, and this analysis is then followed by a deliberation of the extended life gained by the three cartoons when they were transferred to social media such as Google, Google Trends, YouTube, Twitter and blogs. Social media now share the control over a message that are sent out and grant a satirical cartoon an unforeseen longer life. The extended life comes about because communities and individuals can now share, co-create, discuss and modify user-generated content in social media. Where political cartoons in printed media, as a rule, end up as waste, online political cartoons have the potential to live forever and ever-'ad infinitum'. The implication of the extended life of a political cartoon is that the image of a politician can be tarnished daily for 24h online. Social media has become a powerful mechanism for the electorate to voice their concerns, and politicians such as President Zuma have little opportunities for recourse. The recent upheavals in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and other countries are evidence of the role that the social media can play in fostering political support. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 11 3 August 2011 10.1002/pa.404 Special Issue Paper Special Issue Papers Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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