Week 7: Transversality – Politics’ Reformation

Politics has been reformed, maybe not enough to some, or in the wrong way to others but nonetheless it has been reformed through the transversal affordances provided my technological advances that had created new media; like Twitter and Facebook. In fact this renaissance of interest in politics has resulted in it becoming ‘alive’ again in the 21st Century, through the 24/7 scrutiny and limelight that is created by the impact of new media.

Murphie notes, in his Editorial on transversality, that Genosko determines:

“Blinkers prevent transversal relations; they focus by severely circumscribing a visual field. The adjustment of them releases the existing, but blinkered, quantity of transversality’. Again, removing the blinkers, increasing the ‘coefficient of transversality’, requires a certain rigor. In our field this is perhaps simply a matter of appropriate responses to the way new media technologies keep removing the blinkers for us in the world at large.”[1]

This quote in its entirety demonstrates why social media has been adopted as an avenue by politicians to reach a different audience, or provided their intended audience/constituents with constant updates on what they are doing. If we look at the example of Federal Opposition Leader & Warringah MP Tony Abbott MHR, whose tweets are fed directly through to his Facebook (see image 1 &2 below), he uses his twitter to communicate directly with voters whilst waiting in the airport terminal or when on his way home from a public event. An example of how politics has had their blinkers to the public removed or reduced as they are more accessible through their communication; no longer viewed as sitting down in Canberra out of touch.

Image 1:

Image 2:

However, what is more evident in the adoption of twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, with Kevin Rudd the first Federal Leader to have a social media page on Myspace.com (created in 2006) is that as Phelps discusses technological advances and new media have provided a “…truly new and surprising way to tell stories”[2]. Therefore, a transversal is created as the political atmosphere or even politics is reformed as “new lines cross between older disciplines, older fields, older cultural practices”.[3]

Finally, Sawers’ argues that, “there are some ways in which we massively overstate the impact of social media – and Twitter in particular”[4] with the investigation into MP’s expenses in the UK and into Wikileaks having “…a significant digital element and were stories of the digital age; but they weren’t social media generated stories.”[5] This demonstrates how politics through social media, particularly Twitter and Facebook, is demonstrative of transversality’s effect on politics through the affordances of new media, previously confined to print, radio and television, is allowing “new lines to cross older disciplines and older fields”[6]. If you’ve ever watched the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Q&A or visited their Twitter page you would know what I’m talking about, the at home audience are able to tweet panelists/politicians directly and politicians not on the program tweeting about the show or responding to audience tweets.


[1] Murphie, Andrew (2006) ‘Editorial’, [on transversality], the Fibreculture Journal, 9 <http://nine.fibreculturejournal.org/>

[3] Murphie, Andrew (2006) ‘Editorial’, [on transversality], the Fibreculture Journal, 9 <http://nine.fibreculturejournal.org/>

[6] Murphie, Andrew (2006) ‘Editorial’, [on transversality], the Fibreculture Journal, 9 <http://nine.fibreculturejournal.org/>

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