Research paper

In the modern day, it is seemingly Impossible to post something on the internet and not run into someone with a different view. The fact that anyone can have a voice on the internet at least in-part contributed to this seemingly endless wave of people with different opinions. Everyone wants their voices to be heard so the dedicated a lot of effort towards getting the attention their beliefs, ideas, and opinions. It’s not just individuals who want to get these beliefs out there. Many companies, unions, governments, and all manners of groups use social media as a way to further their beliefs. When you factor in that anyone, or any group, it is only logical to think that some of these groups will have views that are more extreme than others.
Today, many people are choosing to forgo the traditional two-party system in America and focus on their own beliefs. This has lead to a decrease in the popularity of the parties, and a larger variety of beliefs that can range from the medial to the extreme. These groups of people are no different from everyone else and wish to get their opinions out there as well. Unfortunately for these groups, they might not always have the largest following, so as much as they try they will never get the same massive audience as those with larger groups. One way that these groups get around this is the creation of bots.
Bots, short for web robots, are an artificial intelligence that is used to create posts on social media. These can be used in a variety of ways, ranging from harmless to malicious. Governments and political parties are no stranger to the use of bots, and they use these bots to spread their ideas. These bots will do a variety of jobs including engaging with posts from real leaders of the party, talking about things or ideas to get them trending online, and even spreading misinformation about opposing parties. As an example in 2013, a Syrian group hacked the twitter of a popular new source saying the US was attacked and President Obama was injured. This malicious spread of information caused the stock market to fall the most it ever has in one day.
While this wasn’t a bot the same issue still applies. An outside political party was able to impact an opposing group by spreading misinformation. Bots are very successful when it comes to spreading this misinformation, but the one thing that we’ve been able to combat these bots are learning how they function in order to determine whether the bots are real people or bots. However, the bots learn, and as they grow they learn how to hide the fact that they are bots. It’s getting harder to tell who is a bot and who is not a bot, which means it is harder to tell what outrage is artificially created or natural.
The rapid establishment of these smaller groups and the political participation that they inspire has created an “us versus them” mentality. This has made it harder to create meaningful relationships with people that they do not share beliefs with. This is in part due to emotions playing a much stronger role in modern politics. We are bombarded with more information than we ever have before, this can lead to some people creating strong emotional reactions to current events, even if it doesn’t affect them in any way. With the sheer amount of information available it’s easier for people to spread false information that some people might latch onto and use as an argument to support their side. This can lead to an even further divide between the various groups because the false information is usually inflammatory towards other groups. This leads to mudslinging, which will often demonize the group in the eyes of the public should they chose to believe it.
Groups like these tend to have leaders who value the ideals of the group more than anyone else. These people tend to be highly treasured in their own group, however being at the head of a group tends to put a target on their back. These people will tend to have to deal with a large amount of scrutiny from the opposing group. This group will judge everything this person does, even if it has nothing to do with the beliefs that this person hold. This can be detrimental to the group as a whole. People will see what other groups are claiming as important and judge the entire group based on that one action.
All of these separate events work together to create a climate where opposing opinions are often seen as attacks and are dealt with by retaliation rather than conversation. People have become notably hostile towards people whom they disagree with and the best example of this is during the 2016 presidential election. During this election, many types of new communication technologies were used to combat the opposing party.
Memes by far were one of the most pronounced uses of new communication technology used in this election. With the rise of the internet culture, memes became more mainstream which lead to them being used by both parties to create a sense of connection with people who have immersed themselves in internet culture. With both parties using memes to interact with the public, memes became politicized. More primitive memes have been used politically before, but with the connectivity offered by the internet, memes have become a popular means to spread thoughts and ideas. This has lead to some memes being claimed as things that they are not. Pepe the Frog is a cartoon frog that has been appropriated by a right-wing group called the alt-right. They used Pepe the Frog in a negative way to portray minorities and people who they disagree with. This has lead to Pepe being labeled as a hate symbol, and this is both a negative thing as well as a positive thing. It’s a good thing that the people who used Pepe in a negative way had it ruined for them, however, it was not just ruined for them but everyone. So now whenever someone uses the Pepe meme they are associating themselves with the negativity created by the alt-right. This is just one example of many where an idea, object, or thought has been politicized by association with a political party.
This issue is taken even further by new communication technologies. Many social media websites and entertainment websites like to extrapolate your data to send you more items or info that will keep you on the website longer. If someone ends up watching one video that features one of these many politically appropriated memes, he or she will end up getting more of these videos. Eventually with all of these videos watched it will send them something related more towards the political side, leading to away from the entertainment of the memes. Should he or she chose to watch it they will gradually end up receiving more videos from that push the narrative of that party. Depending on what videos are watched, or what posts liked, posts that are purposely misinformative will then start to show up. Some people might believe the video as it may claim to be from a credible site, and they end up sharing it over other new communication technologies.
When people share things on the internet, simply put people who like it will like, and some might even take it further and share it. If people share something to the internet that is false, the first thought of the people who read it is not to check whether it’s true or not, but whether or not they agree with it. Someone may not like someone so if they see something negative towards that person, they’ll tend to believe it due to their own bias. This leads to even more sharing, and furthering of the belief of the false information. Over time the information may prove to have been false, but the damage will have already been done. Some people may not even care that the information is not true and continue to share it just to harm the reputation of those opposing groups.
These people help grow the divide between these parties or groups, which in the end only helps to further the contempt between them. People within these groups will take this personally, seeing all these people that they don’t agree with and take it as a personal attack. The fact that these people are taking general observations personally is not positive at all, and it will just feed back into the negativity and growth of the divide. However, if people are willing to learn and communicate with those of other ideas they have the perfect tool on the internet.
The polarizing nature of modern politics has become very noticeable in every faciet of daily life, it’s to the point that many people in the middle of the issues are getting very annoyed and frustrated with both parties. There has always been this group but along with everyone else the internet has given them a much larger voice. This group tends to be one of the more quiet voices, as their views tend not to make waves on the internet or in the media. These more ambivalent people have recently found their voices the same way as more extreme views have. Many YouTube accounts, Facebook groups, and subreddits have popped up to try and explain how in order for everyone to get along they have to talk to each other and work things out or else we as a country will not go anywhere. Unfortunately, many people are stuck in their ways, and will not do what these moderate people say they should, although some might understand what they’re saying and lighten up on their views.
New communication technologies such as the internet and modern telephones have greatly increased the availability of communication, to the point where we’re learning so much more than we ever wanted to learn. It also allows people who maybe shouldn’t say the things that they say to say it to an audience of potentially millions. Today, with everyone saying how they believe the world should work, people have been bombarded with more opinions than ever before. With this happening people have doubled down on their beliefs forcing out everyone else’s as best they can. This eventually lead to smear campaigns with the intent of discrediting those that they disagreed with in an effort to increase the popularity of their ideas. This was helped out by the introduction of social media websites extrapolating data in an effort to show someone articles that would leave them more likely to spend more time on the website. This has lead to them showing things that the visitor is going to agree with, which can include political ideas that they agree with, which only serves to shut out opposing opinions. This was not intentional and helped create the gap between people.


Work Cited


Ferrara, E., Varol, O., Davis, C., Menczer, F., & Flammini, A. (2016, July). The Rise of Social Bots. Retrieved May 5, 2018, from


Bennett, W. L. (2012, November). The Personalization of Politics: Political Identity, Social Media, and Changing Patterns of Participation. Retrieved May 5, 2018, from


Bennett, W. L. (2012, November). The Personalization of Politics: Political Identity, Social Media, and Changing Patterns of Participation. Retrieved May 5, 2018, from

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