The Role of Social Media in Political Communication.docx - Running Head THE ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN POLITICAL COMMUNICATION 1 The Role of Social Media

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Running Head: THE ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN POLITICAL COMMUNICATION 1 The Role of Social Media in Political Communication Name Institution
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THE ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN POLITICAL COMMUNICATION 2 The Role of Social Media in Political Communication Introduction Political participation, especially among the youth, has continually experienced a slump and it is characterized by a state of mutual neglect between both the youth and political leaders and parties[ CITATION Mar154 \l 1033 ]. As a consequence, the voter turnout of the youth has continually been low to a state that is has resulted in political apathy which is normalized not only in the United States but other democracies as well. This points to a key concern considering that political participation is at the core of the concept of democracy where every citizen is extended to civic responsibility such as voting. It is worth noting that, while people have historically depended on newspapers for political information, youth readership has experienced a steep decline where only 2 percent of youths compared to 44 percent of senior citizens read the newspaper daily[ CITATION Mar154 \l 1033 ]. Therefore, the replacement of newspaper with television coverage which is criticized for offering superficial coverage of political events which exacerbates the dearth of political awareness among the youth. Therefore, with little engagement and reduced awareness, low levels of political commitment and participation ensue (Wattenberg, 2015; Sides, Tesler & Vavreck, 2017). However, it is important to note that the youth while they have not been adequately involved in politics, they cannot be wholly blamed, instead, they are mere consequences in media habits as the media has gradually changed from newspapers to television and now, there are digital channels. While political participation and awareness have been low, this development in media presents an opportunity for increased political participation grounded upon the concept of political voluntarism. This has been largely evidenced in the political campaigns for the former President of the United States, Barack Obama and the current President, Donald
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THE ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN POLITICAL COMMUNICATION 3 Trump[ CITATION Mar154 \l 1033 ]. That is, by using the internet, mainly social media, the two have succeeded to bridge the divide among the youth and politics whereby, for instance, the presidential race where President Obama saw a significant increase in youth voter turnout. In regards to President Trump, through social media, especially Twitter, he has managed to increase political awareness among the youth who because of such online campaigns are more aware of political events and are more hands-on that they were in the past as evidenced by the increased demonstrations lobbying for different rights such as gay rights[ CITATION Mar154 \l 1033 ]. This goes on to show that while the political apathy among the youth is a result of deliberate and circumstantial avoidance due to the disparities in
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