First and Last Name/s of Presenters

Jenna BillingsFollow

Mentor/s

Dr. James Castonguay

Location

Panel A: UC 108

Start Day/Time

4-21-2017 11:00 AM

End Day/Time

4-21-2017 12:15 PM

Abstract

There is no better time to study media’s influence than in an election year. This paper will (1) present a brief history of social media networks and describe in detail how their proliferation in society has fed grassroots political efforts, (2) outline how social media has become its own medium that challenges the corporate institution of television media and (3) ultimately prove using research from the country’s most recent presidential election that social media has contributed to the upholding of major democratic principles.

This comprehensive research synthesis examines both sides of the debate around social media use; while some believe it was responsible for spreading misinformation during the last election, automated ad buying and selling by big brands is largely to blame for the spread of fake news. Another debate argues that users of social media are less informed about political processes, but data from 2004 on suggests that social media has increased civic engagement among users in a variety of ways, and that it informs and connects voters.

Ultimately this paper will argue for social networks to be looked upon by future academia and educators as an agent of democracy, and a significant medium to be engaged with as much as television or radio within curriculums. Additionally, they are a resource that will be used as part of larger political campaign efforts at the grassroots level.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

College and Major available

Communication and Media Studies

Document Type

Essay

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Apr 21st, 11:00 AM Apr 21st, 12:15 PM

An Agent of Democracy: Evaluating the Role of Social Media in Modern Presidential Elections

Panel A: UC 108

There is no better time to study media’s influence than in an election year. This paper will (1) present a brief history of social media networks and describe in detail how their proliferation in society has fed grassroots political efforts, (2) outline how social media has become its own medium that challenges the corporate institution of television media and (3) ultimately prove using research from the country’s most recent presidential election that social media has contributed to the upholding of major democratic principles.

This comprehensive research synthesis examines both sides of the debate around social media use; while some believe it was responsible for spreading misinformation during the last election, automated ad buying and selling by big brands is largely to blame for the spread of fake news. Another debate argues that users of social media are less informed about political processes, but data from 2004 on suggests that social media has increased civic engagement among users in a variety of ways, and that it informs and connects voters.

Ultimately this paper will argue for social networks to be looked upon by future academia and educators as an agent of democracy, and a significant medium to be engaged with as much as television or radio within curriculums. Additionally, they are a resource that will be used as part of larger political campaign efforts at the grassroots level.

 

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