Know the game. Hold the power.


Money is central to politics. Money is critical for communicating with constituents. Political parties, candidates and other electoral institutions need funding to carry out tasks including campaigns.

Money can also have a serious impact on fair political participation and competition. Problems abound, and scandals involving corrupt politicians, questionable alliances between wealthy donors and politicians, vote buying, and the influence of money from organized crime all contribute to the degradation of an equal playing field.

Power in our Pockets: Social Media, Money and Politics in the Digital Age hones in on the power of social media to boost public participation and raise funds in politics. This engagement and advancement in social media is not without consequence. In the long term, such an environment can make politicians less accountable and less responsive to voters, which can, in turn alienate citizens and decrease political participation.

The documentary highlights cases on the interactions in the United States, Spain and Indonesia. The American example demonstrates Obama’s landmark success in using social media to raise money and to raise it from previously disengaged sectors of society. Indonesia, which is known as the “social media capital of the world,” demonstrates the broad range of new social media innovations related to elections. The Podemos party’s campaign in Spain showcases the use of social media to promote transparency in political financing.

Key interviewees

Amelia Showalter

Amelia Showalter, Director of Digital Analytics, Obama for America 2012, USA

Philips Vermonte

Philips Vermonte, Head, Department of Politics and International Relations, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Indonesia

Zephyr Teachout

Zephyr Teachout, Associate Professor of Law, Fordham University, USA

Jorge Moruno

Jorge Moruno, Discourse Area Manager, Podemos, Spain

Allan Päll

Segundo Gonzalez Garcia, Coordinator of Finance and Transparency, Podemos, Spain

Paul S. Ryan

Paul S. Ryan, Senior Counsel, Campaign Legal Center, USA

Mark Schmitt

Mark Schmitt, Director, Political Reform Program, New America, USA

Sheila Krumholz

Sheila Krumholz, Executive Director, Center for Responsive Politics, USA


  • Created by Seema Shah, International IDEA Electoral Processes Programme
  • Produced and Directed by Alice McDowell
  • Cinematography by Maurice Gunning
  • Edited by Manuela Corbari and Alice McDowell
  • Special thanks to the Galway Film Centre for technical assistance

Screening at Global Media Forum

Power in our Pockets premiered in Bonn at the Global Media Forum. Learn about the event.

Listen to the presentation and Q&A

Watch the trailer

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