Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Social media is ubiquitous and holds a significant place in modern society. Social media feeds are inundated with political content and are used by politicians and citizens alike to post political commentary. Neither mass media nor politics are new areas of study in sociology, but the entanglement of the two is proving to be of interest, as some scholarship argues that social media is driving changes in how politics works in the United States. We must consider how the citizenry consumes and processes political information in the modern era in view of the interplay between social media and current events. This study examines how membership and/or regular use of Facebook, and membership and/or regular use of Twitter affects perceived political understanding. I propose that, respectively, Facebook and Twitter use will increase perception of political understanding. Analysis of data from the 2016 General Social Survey reveals that Twitter membership and/or regular use is correlated with political understanding; meaning that those who use Twitter are more likely to believe they have an understanding of the political issues facing our country. The data confirms that the relationship between social media and political understanding must be taken seriously, and warrants deeper exploration. There is a need for future research that explores the kinds of content individuals consume on social media and the time they spend on these sites in order to develop a more robust understanding of exactly how social media use affects political understanding.
Siegel, Ruby, "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Social Media: Understanding the Relationship Between Facebook, Twitter, and Political Understanding" (2018). Sociology Senior Seminar Papers. 3.