How Facebook helped Trump become President – Lessons in Social Media Marketing

He was publicaly downgrading women, promoting bullying, proudly announced tax evasion as a cool thing to do, threatened to sue people, build a wall across the nation, throw millions out of the country or lock in jails, yet nobody saw it coming. And the aftermath of Trump winning USA Presidential elections leaves everybody surprised and perplexed. Even the entire media rallied against Donald Trump and yet he won the election so decisively.

When you compare this result with Brexit results or so called increasing intolerance back home here in India, there seems to be a trend, where “rightist right” is winning every time, maybe in the name of nationalism or something else. But the divide has never been so deep and clear.

The right is further right and the left is further left. And its not stopping any time soon yet.

Looking at who voted for Trump, its very clear to identify a trend and reach at the root cause. Let me start with a piece from 2011 best selling book “The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You.” by Eli Pariser.

“Ultimately, democracy works only if we citizens are capable of thinking beyond our narrow self-interest. But to do so, we need a shared view of the world we cohabit. We need to come into contact with other people’s lives and needs and desires. The filter bubble pushes us in the opposite direction – it creates the impression that our narrow self-interest is all that exists. And while this is great for getting people to shop online, it’s not great for getting people to make better decisions together.”

Now what is “filter bubble”. Its an effect on your mind cause by the way we are consuming information and news in the age of Social media. Facebook and its news feed algorithm is tuned to try and show you stuff you like. It doesn’t distinguish between fact and fiction. So you see and read more of what you like. And once you “liked” something, you will be bombarded with similar stuff repeatedly, even if the information was false in the first place. Right becomes more right….and left becomes more left, without you even realising it. Any psychologist will tell you that you become what you see, read and hear repeatedly.

Topped up with the fact, you are surrounded with like minded “friends”, creating a little of your own world where everything you see and believe is the ultimate truth. And hence a world where nobody even wants to listen to the other POV, let alone reason it.

recent Pew Study found that a majority of U.S. adults – 63% – use Facebook as a source of news on events and issues beyond pictures posted with friends and family. And this is how it is more or less around the world. The sad part is we are not going back from here. So, unless social media companies stop treating people like “a pocket full of money”, (which I am sure they aren’t going to) things are only getting worse.

As always I love to have contrary views, please share your views by commenting below. You may also wish to share this, it can very well save some souls.

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