Social media are not used for intellectual, yet for populistic messages published short and to the point, and the politicians make the most of them as self-promotion tools, the US journalists John Cochran and Barbara Cochran said on the public discussion “Can the social media influence the US elections?”, which was organized by the Metamorphosis Foundation at the GEM club in Skopje, in cooperation with the Embassy of the United States of America.
“Every journalist must be active on social media nowadays. The disadvantage is that everyone who has Twitter or Facebook profile followed by huge number of people, can become a publisher. The good thing is that people can choose who to follow and who to trust, but this is some kind of dangerous because people receive one-sided information” said Barbara Cochran, professor at the University of Missouri, School of Journalism, who has followed every election cycle in the US in the past 24 years.
She also added that the Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, benefits from the social media because he is spontaneous and publishes alone, unlike the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who is cautious and works on her posts alongside with her team.
“Trump is powerful on social media, he created an image for himself, and without any political experience, he gained nomination for the presidential elections. He tweets alone, and this helps him a lot in his campaign. People love that, whereas Hillary is cautious and she isn’t spontaneous. Her tweets are well composed by her team, and that suits Trump’s book”, Barbara Cochran said.
The publishing speed is social media’s flaw, because the journalists are not always sure of what they publish, said John Cochran, a retired network television correspondent.
“Social media do not destroy journalism with sensationalism, yet with the reporting that journalists are not always sure of. But, you must not make mistakes. The worst thing is to publish a story, for which you believe is true, but you are insufficiently sure. You have got to be sure that what you publish is correct. Get it first, but get it right”, he said.