The Effect Of Social Media On Students' Political Ideologies And Opinions Cal Poly Slo, Engl 148 Technical Report

5180 words - 21 pages

1
Running Head: INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON POLITICAL OPINIONS AND
AFFILIATION
The Effect of Social Media Content on
Influencing Political Opinions and Affiliation
Among College Students
Isabella Bacino
California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo
English 148
Walters
February 12, 2018
INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON POLITICAL OPINIONS AND AFFILIATION
2
Introduction
Across the United States, college students are becoming increasingly more familiar with politics and the
ways in which it shapes their lives through the use of social media. Political affiliation and opinions are
generated through a number of ways, on factor being content in the media. The 2008 election marked the
first time a Presidential candidate, former President Barack Obama, successfully used social media as a
platform to consolidate a strong support base. However, after the 2016 election it is even more evident
that social media has become a major factor in political campaigns and the ways in which people think
about politics. Additionally, there have been numerous articles discussing a few of President Donald
Trump’s false claims and how a significant portion of his voters believe such claims simply because he
says they are factual via Twitter. This underscores the importance of media content and the role in plays
in influencing the opinions and political affiliation of individuals.
Because millenials are heavy social media users, relying on such platforms to help them stay connected
with friends and family, the focus of this report will be on how social network sites influence college
students’ political opinions and affiliation. Today it is nearly impossible to go on Facebook or Twitter and
not see a single post related to politics, whether that comes in the form of an informative article or an
opinion piece from a friend. Some argue it has even created greater polarization between liberals and
conservatives. College students learn about politics through education, interacting with their peers, and
from their parents own opinions, however social media, in particular, has become the largest medium for
political discussion and debate. Media content not only enables, but also influences young adults to form
political affiliations and opinions of their own. The extent of this influence varies from person to person
and place to place. The purpose of this project is to examine how effective social media content is in
influencing the political affiliations and opinions held by college students.
Methodology
In order to examine the extent to which social media influences college students’ political affiliations and
opinions a survey was conducted on surveymonkey.com as a way of collecting primary research. It was
hypothesized that a vast majority of college students use social media regularly for both social and
political purposes, which in turn has influenced their beliefs at least to a certain degree. In addition, the
less ​politically engaged​ students would be influenced by...

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