Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Janet Donavan

Second Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Fitzgerald

Third Advisor

Dr. Levente Szentkirályi

Abstract

Social media use is becoming increasingly prevalent in the United States, and its uses are becoming more politicized. Since Barack Obama’s campaign for presidency in 2008 to the 2016 presidential election, the conversation around how social media is impacting our political environment has grown. Through this thesis, I examine how using social media politically affects the likelihood that someone will participate in politics. I look at four different acts of political participation: contacting a political official, donating to a political campaign, participating in a political activity like a rally, and voting. I also look at the timeline of Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat to analyze potential effects of social media platforms on political participation. To analyze this relationship, I used survey data from the American National Election Surveys to set up a statistical analysis. The analysis found that using social media politically increased the likelihood that a person will engage in all four types of political participation. As the United States moves forward in the social media age, it is important to know that social media use is correlated with acts of participation.

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