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Social media & public opinion: Who are the real stars?

Social media vs. public opinion

Public opinion is often associated with the term ‘media’, given the powerful impact media has on the construction of public belief and attitudes and its effect on social change. Egyptian media has evolved significantly in the wake of the 2011 popular uprising, offering an outlet for opinion and a platform for the exchange of ideas, as well as, at times, some on-screen bellowing

The local and global media landscape has changed swiftly, and in recent times has been unable to draw larger audiences, mainly as a result of young people having been enticed away from mainstream media outlets like newspapers and television by digital platforms and social-networking websites. This, in turn, has driven advertisers away from television and therefore affected the quality of content produced by television channels.

Social Media vs. Public Opinion:

This raises the question of why social media has become an increasingly central part of how we all communicate, and how public opinion is influenced. As far as I’m concerned, social media is the only place where ordinary people can express their views smoothly and spontaneously. It’s also the case that many young people resort to digital platforms to express hopes and ambitions that have become unattainable in real life.

Social networking websites are now believed to be the new, free media or to be alternative media outlets. They have been rapidly evolving as their use has spread, becoming a key visual and audio media and communication medium, with many users hardly a day going without logging on. They have also offered an alternative advertising and marketing option that is more realistic and cost-effective for many businesses.

This brings up the fundamental question of who is spearheading social media? Have opinion and business leaders, artists and political figures taken a back seat? The answer is no, they are there. But we, content creators, should take the responsibility of finding thinkers, politicians, political analysts, popular artists and comedians and push them into the forefront. Our role is to present real, influential figures to the public through a variety of channels that guarantee significant reach.

We should therefore find role models who set shining examples in a range of areas, for young people to follow and hold up as a source of hope. Finding leaders and role models for our young people is a great responsibility that we must acknowledge and strive to fulfill.

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Lamia is one of the pioneers in Political Communication in Egypt. She has been involved as a communications strategist in many of the most highly visible campaigns in Egypt.