The not always popular Gingrich has taken social media by storm with his use of Facebook to reach out to voters. Gingrich is the first candidate to implement Facebook’s new Timeline option. Now, with thousands subscribing to Gingrich’s Timeline, it is only a matter of time before other candidates follow suit.
While the technologically savvy move will definitely give Gingrich an advantage among younger voters, it has been noted that Gingrich carefully leaves out controversial issues about his past in his Timeline. Gingrich’s carefully-crafted Timeline is deceitful to voters who are trying to find out more about the possible presidential candidate. Although viewers could research Gingrich on sources other than Facebook, is it right for Gingrich to purposefully leave out information about his life on Timeline?
Leaving out controversial matters seems like a good way to have a solid profile to meet the needs of potential voters, but for those who do not support Gingrich, perhaps including this material will change their view of him. If Gingrich and his public relations team include the undesirable facts that are already known by most, but not included in his Timeline, he would seem like a more respectable candidate instead of as just another shady politician.
This would be an entirely different conversation if Gingrich had made this profile for his own personal use. Matters of privacy should be respected, even for someone as high profile as Gingrich. The profile was created entirely as a political ploy. Since his Timeline is a tool for his campaign, it is fair game to wonder why he has failed to mention his first two marriages or Freddie Mac. His profile distorts facts for potential voters.
A high-profile person like Newt must realize that his entire history is only a click away. Or at least his public relations team should. The Timeline is meant to make Gingrich look like the “cookie-cutter” Republican candidate. You really cannot blame Gingrich and his public relations team for trying to use this tool in such a deceiving manner.
Timeline allows viewers to see every important moment of a person’s life, subject to what they want you to know. Gingrich’s cover photo sports him signing autographs and says, “Bold, Reagan Conservative.” His profile is exactly the candidate that he wants American to see; his endorsements, marriage, primary wins, and position on key matters. His profile also includes many other fun facts, like his endorsement by Chuck Norris, which immediately makes him awesome.
While it would make sense to only highlight the major events that reflect positively on Gingrich’s campaign, how many will buy it? There are constant debates about whether our nation really takes the time to get to know candidates before they vote, or if they vote solely based on what they are told by the media. Misinformed voters could change the entire landscape of the 2010 Elections. It is important that voters get all the facts, know all the major issues, and most importantly, understand what they are looking for in a candidate. There is no way to force Gingrich to change his profile to reflect the truth, but voters can rely on more reliable sources for news than their local social media network.
The media has become the force behind many campaigns and can make or break any candidate. Social media like Facebook is no exception to this. Facebook’s millions of viewers could be blind to the true Newt Gingrich because of this profile. The issue becomes whether it is fair for candidates to omit information about themselves on their profiles in order to make them seem more ideal.
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