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Politics of Language (Part 3)

user: Widjaya Ivan / flickr

This week we are talking about the politics of language. In the third part of our series we examine how internet technology is being used to disseminate those political catch phrases and messages we all hear and quickly repeat.

Cliff Lampe is assistant professor in the School of Information at the University of Michigan. He says politicians are using social media to their advantage.

"The political strategists are really trying to control the social media to the extent that they can... So part of the reason why you see so much instant messaging is to make sure that their message gets propagated in the way that they hope."

Coming up with content messaging that can be easily repeated has always been part of political strategies, according to Lampe.

"..."strategic defense" is a boring phrase, "star wars" is an exciting phrase. So how do you make something compelling. And I think that gets even more salient when you're looking at internet technologies."

Even if you don't use Facebook or Twitter, for example, you probably know someone who does. Lampe says people can be influenced by social media one way or another.

“The difference between online and offline has gotten increasingly blurred over the last few years and so something someone has been talking about online will suddenly be part of the water cooler conversation offline the next day.”

Mercedes Mejia is a producer and the Director of Stateside.
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