Research Paper Topic: Social Media and Its Effect on Presidential Elections

This research paper is about how recently social media has become a reliable source for politics especially during the presidential elections. It has become a space where people can have their own debates and share their opinions on the different candidates. For the last elections from experience I definitely noticed more people from my generation engaged in the elections. Twitter and Facebook seemed to have an influence on how people viewed the candidates. If someone wrote on Facebook or Twitter about favoring Mitt Romney then they would be immediately causing a debate on the social networking websites. People began trolling or stating “facts” about the candidate but no one really knew whether they are valid concrete statements or biased. Social media has become a norm in the elections here in the United States and I think it is important to analyze how elections might influenced by social media. Is this a positive influence or is this creating a massive singular mindset of beliefs?

People would like to think that they truly consider who they elect as the president of their country. Society is convinced that they are not manipulated by the media or advertisements that surrounded all over presidential campaigns. The reality is media shapes people just as much or even more as people shape the media. Social media affects the way people perceive the presidential candidates and will publicize stories or proof that supports the thoughts on each candidate. In this research paper I want to explore how people are affected by media in these kinds of decisions and what the results of having social media as a source for knowledge about the elections. “The common view is that the American public turns off, knows little, cares less, and stays home [on election day]. . .” (Gilens). However, with the rise of participatory journalism and social media people have become more exposed than ever to the presidential elections and its current events. “This perceived decline in political engagement echoes a decline in both exposure to news and the quality of political news. Newspaper readership has been waning steadily for decades the network news shows have lost a third of their viewers, and the content of campaign coverage in these news outlets has shifted away from policy to scandals, gaffes, and the horse race. It is no wonder, then, that Americans are viewed as less equipped to make electoral decisions today than they were 50 years ago” (Gilens). The advancements in social media have encouraged awareness of presidential candidates and information about them at a quicker speed. This has also lead to increase in election participation and interest of society especially younger generations. However, even though people have more exposure to the occurrences of elections and presidential candidates due to increases of social media usage, people still do not receive enough accurate information in order to understand and make a decision between candidates.

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