Social Media

How Social Media Gave Mike Gravel an Identity and a Platform

There are kings and there are king makers. Social media is an example of a ‘space’ that serves both functions. Take for example the case of Mike Gravel, until about a week ago he was a complete unknown, but since the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary Debate of April 26th, he is all that the people can talk about.
Of course part of it has to do with his his rather aggressive and argumentative (perhaps you could call it controversial) mannerisms, but that did nothing but to get him barred from mainstream media outlets. Not only did he get uninvited to the CNN debate, but he also got de-listed from the MSNBC online polls.

We’re not ranking Mike Gravel… This guy’s not just a third-tier longshot, he might be a little, um, off. Seriously, he was downright rude. Why should anyone agree to appear on stage with him? And why should any mainstream Democratic group invite him?)

But people can only censor you if you are restricted by the draconian and parochial laws of editorial control that mainstream media outlets have to abide by. With social media, editorial control is given back to the people, no one person or team of people can make a decision to censor someone. And that is exactly what has happened in the case of Mike Gravel.
If you look at the archive of Gravel-related content submitted to Digg or Reddit for example, you will see that the communities there, in response to the mainstream media shunning Gravel, have given him a platform and have gone out of their way to make his voice heard. When he was banned from CNN, the people circulated petitions (Digg, Reddit) and when he wasn’t given the due exposure on television, they helped by giving his YouTube account exposure.
msaleem gravelonline How Social Media Gave Mike Gravel an Identity and a Platform
While the mainstream media is calling his candidacy a long-shot, the people have already elected him president. And that is the power of social media.

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15 thoughts on “How Social Media Gave Mike Gravel an Identity and a Platform

  1. “the people have already elected him president.” Come on, that’s a little extreme isn’t it?
    I mean, what is the combined American userbase of all of the social media websites on the Gravel bandwagon? A couple million?
    How many of them are under 18, and thus not able to vote? How many of those able to vote are going to be too lazy to leave their computers and stand in line at the polling station (I’m one of these, btw). How many of these users that plan on voting are even on the Gravelwagon?
    While Social media may be powerful on the internet, and growing in power in the MSM, I think that quote completely invalidated this entire post.
    I mean, did you really say that?

  2. Mike Gravel needs to be heard in an unbiased media
    I hadn’t heard of him before the debate and I now know
    We have NOT heard from him nearly enough ! Let the People
    of America decide the next President NOT the media’s
    Choice,OUR informed and freely decided upon choice.
    It is Time to forget labels and listen to the message.
    Let us hear MORE

  3. Stephen Glauser has a point – to say the people have already elected Mike Gravel president, based on the buzz created by a very small but vocal subset of Americans, many of whom have no say in the electoral process, is quite an overstatement.
    That said, I’ve never heard of this guy before, and he seems to have some really interesting ideas. I just need to read between his lines before I decide what I think of him.

  4. Do you think a candidte which says on TV
    “The military industrial complex owns the goverment lock, stock, barrel… and controls our culture”
    Will EVER be allowed to say that again on corporate media-
    Think again.
    EVEN THE DAILY SHOW did a hatched job on him editinghis commments to make him look looney.
    They took him off the nationaljournal.com rankings because they can’t allow him any platform.
    100′s of billions in revenue for corporatios are at stake. Better not get in the way of that!

  5. .Gravel a breath of fresh air,and cnn wants to shut him out,not the American way. All voices must be listen to for how is one to select a person.

  6. If we start shunning candidates for giving straight answers and talking with true conviction, then all really is lost. Whether or not you agree with Gravel’s policies, he truly is a great model for any Presidential candidate, there is no BS with him.

  7. I agree that the people have already elected him president
    and the media is doing everything that it can to prevent us
    from finding out. For example, in support of your chart after the debate on Thursday, the internet just exploded. It got 5 million hits in 72 hours said Alex Colvin, Gravel’s press secretary. Contributors flooded the campaign with donations at least $50,000 in the past week
    and the organizers of a CNN debate who had said Gravel wasn’t invited, changed their minds. This man can become president of the U.S. and no one should doubt it now.

  8. I agree with Stephen that Muhammad’s election of Gravel to the presidency is a bit overstated… ahem… but it doesn’t invalidate the post. It just needs an edit :-)
    This post is brilliant (ok, maybe it’s a little idealogical). It’s true that social media is powerful. But it’s not ready to shake up mainstream media or the political system any time soon. What really jumped out at me was the thesis:
    “With social media, editorial control is given back to the people, no one person or team of people can make a decision to censor someone.”
    Let’s look at probably the most powerful social site there is right now: Digg. I don’t know if it was 1 person there or the whole team, but they certainly made a decision to censor the hd-dvd stories (and banning users, too). And let’s not forget them banning sites like Lee Odden’s because he talks about SEO (guess he’s now unbanned).
    The social media space is young and ripe, it’s not a paradise of equality and justice. I doubt it ever can be; it’s a human construct after all.

  9. Gravel is right about the military industrial complex.
    George Washigton warned us, James Madison warned us, Dwight Eisenhower warned us, but we didn’t listen.
    And now everyone is so brainwashed about ‘American greatness’, ‘freedom’ and worst of all, ‘democracy’, that they can’t even begin to see the problem.
    The government controls all the money, the educational system, the communications systems, the electrical supply, the food supply, and all the real guns now, so good luck guys, your chances of even starting a Revolution to take back your government are pretty damn slim, and the odds of success are far worse than Mike Gravel’s chances of becoming President. After all, he is a former U.S. Senator, and a recognized, accredited by the government, candidate.

  10. Great writing as usual here, but I gotta say I disagree with your use of the word “censorship.” Especially in Digg-esque regions of the internet, all you hear is censorship-this, censorship-that–and don’t get me wrong; free, open speech is crucial to our society, but saying you don’t want a guy who was rude or annoying to participate in future debates isn’t censorship.