Politics, Youth and Social Media

A very interesting topic was taken up as part of my academic module in my class today. It was politics. Having been a student of politics, not so long ago, this grabbed my attention. Although lets be honest, my area of specialist journalism is far from politics, well so I thought so, till today’s class. Without beating around the bush I would come straight to the point. Two really interesting and important questions caught my attention.

  1. How has social media affected political behaviour of the citizens?
  2. What does political reporting encompass?

These two questions, in itself, are two highly debatable areas.

Social media has definitely affected political behaviour. This statement holds true and can hardly be strongly challenged. However, social Media is responsible for what we can call virtual politics rather than physical politics. This, I speak looking at the international scenario. To be very honest, today’s youth especially those aged between 18 to 30 are mostly interested in their own lives, celebrities, culture and arts. Have they got any time for hardcore politics amidst their daily schedule? But, with the presence of social media and mobile apps they have the headlines of day to day global, national and regional politics in their fingertips. Social Media primarily does the work of informing, educating and making the youth politically aware of the situation.

Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have been highly used for sharing political views and arguments. Nearly every little meeting, talks, strikes, political elections or activities are discussed world over through these platforms.

“Popular discourse has focused on the use of social media by the Obama campaigns,” Boulianne concludes. “While these campaigns may have revolutionized aspects of election campaigning online, such as gathering donations, the metadata provide little evidence that the social media aspects of the campaigns were successful in changing people’s levels of participation. In other words, the greater use of social media did not affect people’s likelihood of voting or participating in the campaign.”

Source: http://journalistsresource.org/studies/politics/digital-democracy/social-media-influence-politics-participation-engagement-meta-analysis

Political blogs are rising over the years. Youths who have their political opinions find it very easy to put them forward to the world through blogs. That apart, online petition, surveys, propaganda are also gaining grounds. In fact, all of these increase to a great level just before any political elections. They have become part and parcel of what is commonly called as modern day E-Democracy.

social-media-for-political-campaign-in-india-4-638

Photo Courtesy: http://www.slideshare.net (http://goo.gl/ZxcW7z)

With such examples it is clear that globally youths are educated and informed about politics through the use of social media but does this information ultimately culminate into voting behaviour in all scenarios?  This is an important question which needs answering. Only thorough research in this field and time can give an answer to this question.

Coming to the second question of what does politics encompass; well the answer is everything. Everything that one does or happens around an individual is directly or indirectly linked to politics. But it doesn’t mean that everything comes under political reporting. I would personally say that everything around us has political linkage but everything around us in NOT political reporting. Say for instance, what is printed inside prescribed school text books might have political connections; but if a student does not score well in the exam, it is not political reporting.

The above opinions are purely mine and you are more than welcome to disagree. I would however, love to know about your opinions as well so please  do drop by and leave a comment on what you think is the role of social media in shaping up the political future among the youths.

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