A must read: What if Facebook Is the Real ‘Silent Majority’?

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Better or for worse, I am addicted to politics and this recent article by Kevin Roose at the New York Times is a must read for anyone else watching or engaging in US politics.

If you don’t have time to read the whole thing or are stuck on a paywall here are the three key takeaways:

“Pro-Trump political influencers have spent years building a well-oiled media machine that swarms around every major news story, creating a torrent of viral commentary that reliably drowns out both the mainstream media and the liberal opposition.”

Kevin Roose, New York Times

“… while I’m not a political analyst, I know enough about the modern media landscape to know that looking at people’s revealed preferences — what they actually read, watch, and click on when nobody’s looking — is often a better indicator of how they’ll act than interviewing them at diners, or listening to what they’re willing to say out loud to a pollster.”

Kevin Roose, New York Times

“After all, Mr. Trump’s surging popularity showed up online before it showed up in any polls in 2016. And even though much about Facebook, and American politics, has changed in the past four years, the basic laws of social media physics still apply. Controversy wins. Negative beats positive. All attention looks good to an algorithm.”

Kevin Roose, New York Times

In my work over years all of this rings very true. Here at Spake we periodically did social media and search engine analysis on the 2016 presidential race and sent out the clarion call early and often that the Trump campaign was killing it on social media. We also saw that sentiment was not what it seemed when you looked at the news and mainstream polling.

Sadly, the innocent days of going down to the local coffee shop to get an idea of public sentiment on an election are over. Just look at the people in that local shop now, they are all bent over their phones.