Status update: The effect of social media on voter participation
Bryan, Rebecca Mix
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With each emerging technology, political messages are able to proliferate among the public in new ways. Online social media undoubtedly plays a role in the information environment, like its predecessors, the radio, television and early Internet. Social media sources open up new avenues of influence and discourse; combining communication technology and social networks. As new communication trends gain in popularity; it is important for researchers to explain the implications they have for society. This article investigates the relationship between online social media and voter turnout through existing theories. This study demonstrates how online social networks fit into the rational choice model and have the potential to enhance this theory. Online social networks have the potential to reduce the costs associated with voting by the ease at which information is accessed. The way in which this online information influences individuals follows political media literature. Online social media has the potential to take on the role of `soft news', in that it is passive and unavoidable in day-to-day online interactions. This article provides preliminary evidence on the effect of online social media networks on voter participation.
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