The power of social media in political communication
To determine the impact of social media on the way that political institutions and organizations communicate to the public including the unintended impact of social media on political communication.
The track the evolution of social media use in political communication both as intended by those disseminating the information and the unintended impact of having such assessable communication methods for the general public.
Significance and Context of Research
Increasingly in political communication, social media has been used as a primary method of disseminating information, gathering information and testing public opinion. Indeed certain countries continue to use these methods as a primary means of lobbying support. However, not only does it present enormous benefit to political organizations, it also presents a unique opportunity to the public combating abuse of power and an increased awareness and accountability. Some research even goes as far as to suggest that the impact of social media has enhanced the citizen participation in democracy increasing the commitment thereto. In the age of social media as a primary means of communication, the role and impact of this on political communication is boundless and significant.
The primary method of research will be the analysis of different systems of social media usage. There is some literature written on the topic, examining different facets of the social media usage in political communication and this will serve as a useful indicator of the ways that social media is used in political communication. Thereafter, individual case studies on various methods that have been employed to great effect need to be examined. In other words, by examining how different political organizations have used social media to their advantage. The sources of these case studies will be evident in the literature written on the topic. How the organizations use social media and the effect that it has will be the primary focus of the research. The effect of social media usage will include the benefits on participation as well as the disadvantages relating to sensationalism and accuracy.
Clay Shirky (2011) ‘The Political Power of Social Media’ Foreign Affairs, 90(1), p28-41
Erik Qualman (2009) ‘How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business’ [online] Available on http://www.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.uct.ac.za/uploads/corpLearn/pdf/bbs_socialnomics.pdf [Accessed on 7 July 2012]
Erik C. Nisbet, Elizabeth Stoycheff, & Katy E. Pearce (2012) ‘Internet Use and Democratic Demands: A Multinational, Multilevel Model of Internet Use and Citizen Attitudes About Democracy’ Journal of Communication, 62, 249–265
Henry Farrell (2011) ‘The Internet’s Consequences for Politics’ [online] Available on http://crookedtimber.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/ARPS.pdf [Accessed on 7 July 2012]
John C. Bertot, Paul T. Jaeger, Justin M. Grimes (2010) ‘Using ICTs to create a culture of transparency: E-government and social media as openness and anti-corruption tools for societies’ Government Information Quarterly, 27, 264–271
Michael J. Magro, (2012) ‘A Review of Social Media Use in E-Government’ Sci., 2, 148-161
Wenfang Tang and Shanto Iyengar (2011) ‘ The Emerging Media System in China: Implications for Regime Change’ Political Communication, Special Issue [online] Available at http://myweb.uiowa.edu/wenftang/p/scanned%20publications/Tang%20and%20Iyengar%202011.pdf [Accessed on 7 July 2012]