SOCIAL MEDIA AS A TOOL FOR POLITICAL CAMPAIGN
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
In this present scenario, everyone wants to be in the platform of social media, since everything is towards the digital era. Every individual is linked to others via social media for the purpose of regular communication. Social media has grown tremendously and recognized widely for various purposes. The use of social media in politics and during political campaign has become a vital part for every political parties and candidates.
Since social media sites are capturing more attention and traffic than a public or official campaign websites, it has become valuable and critical for them to get connected. Social media which not only allows the politicians to seek information but also it let them to interact with other and express them online through posting on social networking sites and blogs about political opinions, attitudes and commentary (Kushin and Yamamoto, 2008).
On the other hand, it also helps the users to politically express themselves by encouraging friends to vote, making online donations, status updates and posting graphics etc.
The social media concept involves the use of Internet based applications and services for communication, collaboration, creation and exchange of contents by individuals and groups (Mangold and Faulds, 2009). The main focus of social media is the communication that takes place, how the communication takes place and the relationships that develop based on these communications.
Social media allow individuals and groups to develop, maintain and stay connected to a network of other individuals and people with common interests. Social media is thus a very important platform for businesses and organisations to utilise in order to reach their target audiences (Mangold and Faulds, 2009).
The ability to create values based on social relationships is entrenched in social capital theory which suggests that investment in relationships can be made with expected economic, political, labour or other form of returns (Lin, 2001). Previous research established that the social relationships created on social networks have embedded resources, opportunities and dividends defined as social capital (Lin, 2001; Finkbeiner, 2013). On this premise, businesses and organisations can take advantage of social media to increase their influence and create value.
The focus of social media is interpersonal relationships. Gillin and Schwartzman (2011) suggest that social media can offer social capital to businesses and organisations for gathering marketing intelligence and identifying opportunities by listening to the target market and monitoring social behaviours on social media.
Gillin and Schwartzman (2011) further suggest that social media can also be used for marketing purposes and increasing an organization’s influence in the marketplace. Just as marketing concepts are used in other types of organisations, political marketing is used to communicate the ideologies, values and the offerings of the political organisations to their target market.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The use of social media in elections in the country have shown the power of social media mobilization bringing together strangers for a common cause decreasing the cost of building large network. Most at times, the challenges faced by the government with the use of social media could be that during political campaigns, the masses tend to upload the negative image or activities of an aspirant just to tarnish the image of such person, saying all manner of evil thing about him/her; most citizens capitalizes on the platform of social media due to the fact that every other person has free access to the same platform and more so, other media like the television, radio stations etc. may not give them the opportunity to do so. Finally, several researches has been carried out on social media and politics but not even a single research has been carried out on social media as a tool for political campaign.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
The main aim of the study is to examine social media as a tool for political campaign. Other specific objectives of the study include;
1. to observe the extent to which political office seekers use social media for their campaign.
2. to analyze the nature of information disseminated on the platform by political office seekers.
3. to analyze the reaction of audience to information disseminated.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. to what extent do political office seekers use social media for their campaign?
2. What is the nature of information disseminated on the platform by political office seekers?
3. What are the reactions of audience to information disseminated?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The study on social media as a tool for political campaign will be of immense benefit in the sense that social media provided a platform where many people particularly the young took part in politics for the first time through interacting, sharing information and campaigning for their candidate expressing their various opinions free from any censorship; this in turn reversed the role of the media in society as the media no longer determined what citizens think about as the citizens now determined what the media would talk about.
Social media empowered people by encouraging citizen journalism and blogging providing real time information on the elections minute by minute through sharing of images, videos and updates forcing the different media to join the new media space and share live updates on the elections as well as receive tips informing their coverage. Finally, the study will contribute to the body of existing literature and knowledge to this field of study and basis for further studies.
1.6 SCOPE OF STUDY
The study on social media as a tool is limited to political campaign.
1.7 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Social Media:websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.
Political: Relating to the government or public affairs of a country.
Campaign:Work in an organized and active way towards a particular goal, typically a political or social one.