Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Kristi Andersen, Professor
Jonathan Hanson, Professor
Citizenship and Public Affairs
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Comparative Politics | Models and Methods | Other Political Science | Political Science | Political Theory
Social media has been predicted as a tool to change the democratic process and turn around the substantial decline in political participation that has occurred among American citizens in the most recent years. Yet, since it is still relatively young and unharnessed, many argue that any effect that social media can have on civic engagement cannot be determined yet. This thesis explores and discusses how the emergence of social media as a campaign tool could effect traditional forms of civic engagement as well as produce new forms.
In the 2008 election, social media was capitalized by the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. Through the analysis of the strategies employed by the Obama campaign as well as the insight into the emergence of YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter in politics, the understanding of the potential effect emerges. From the initial understanding, I was able to analyze two different 2010 midterm elections that occurred in Central New York. Those two case studies allowed me to analyze the strategies employed by the campaigns, the online interaction with citizens, and to discuss the potential offline activities. Finally, my research led me to conduct interviews with current undergraduates. The interviews provided an insight into the current generation’s understanding of civic engagement as well as how they used social media for their own political use. My research provides further discussion into the relatively new topic and how the 2012 general election and beyond could be changed as a result.
Walpole, Kathleen Elizabeth, "Social Media and its Potential Effects on Civic Engagement" (2012). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 191.
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