The Past Decade and Future of Political Media: The Ascendance of Social Media
The American media system has undergone significant transformations since the advent of new media in the late 1980s. During the past decade, social media have become powerful political tools in campaigns and governing. This article explores three major trends related to the rise of social media that are relevant for democratic politics in the United States. First, there is a major shift in how and where people get political information, as more people turn to digital sources and abandon television news. Next, the emergence of the political “Twitterverse,” which has become a locus of communication between politicians, citizens, and the press, has coarsened political discourse, fostered “rule by tweet,” and advanced the spread of misinformation. Finally, the disappearance of local news outlets and the resulting increase in “news deserts” has allowed social-media messages to become a primary source of information in places where Donald Trump’s support is most robust.