These days some journals rejoice reveling the secrets of the Tech Team that helped Obama to win the last election. The exciting narrative of how the intrepid team of the candidate decided to use the power of new media to enhance their chances, and how nerds get in the house to help them, hides something evil inside.
We all understand how cool it is to help your candidate to win, specially if he is liberal and progressive. But what is at stake here is the independence of the public – of the people – to decide for themselve who they want to vote without any elaborated crowd-controlling social media system sneaking into their brains.
Using social media marketing techniques is not cheating, and is completely accepted, as any other kind of marketing. But when the techniques to manipulate public opinion are so complex, subtil and elaborated – and so effective – we began to wonder if Democracy still has any sense.
The techiques used improve each election, pushed by the competition of the parties. It sounds like the boost of innovation and technology that is usually associated with wars: when it comes to fight the enemy we push our selves to the top of our possibilities. And funding for innovation flows easily, too.
Here, two candidates are fighting for the vote of the people, and the battle ground is the consciousness of that people. they have to conquer their wills if they want to win. It was allways been the same, some may argue. And that is maybe true, but at least before we had the ilusion that a real free common will was operating. Now, when it is too obvious that hi-tech manipulation is so effective, there is no more space for that ilusion.
Some celebrate that with great joy, but on the long way it doesn’t seem to be a good deal.