Social Media and Politics

Abstract a) Purpose The following research paper seeks to understand if social media can be used as an effective tool in politics b) Design/Methodology/Approach: The problem was structured by analyzing the behavior of the stakeholders using a systems approach. The analysis of the model revealed a set of feedback loops operating in the system identified as responsible for the complexity of the problem situation relating to political activism.

The study employs various research methods such as systematic method that uses empirical model in analyzing if the political participation is due to causal relationship between online activity and result orientation. It also uses Qualitative case study method where cases of different countries are studied and the data gathered is checked against the theoretical framework in place c) Findings The research revealed that as the number of internet user increases with greater accessibility and usability of social media will facilitate political participation.

d) Practical implications The research findings is however skeptical about these revolution was organized online using social media. Social media can be used as low cost medium for organizing but it can be used to transform individuals and cannot guarantee the political empowerment of individuals for future.

From the analysis of the various country cases also reveals that social media helped in bringing down the dictatorship but could not help in forming strong political ties that can be used in the reconstruction of the nation in the path of democracy INTRODUCTION Social media are group of applications that runs on internet built using web 2. 0 technologies. It allows users to generate content which can be exchanged.

Social media applications include blogs, social networking, file and photo sharing. Example: Facebook, Orkut, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Slideshare, MySpace etc. Launched in 2004, Facebook has more than 900 million users worldwide while twitter has 500 million accounts Traditionally social capital was built based on strong ties and mutual trust between individuals.

But now, social media has brought structural changes to the public sphere. It has become a main source of personal orientation, anonymous interactivities and social communities. With the emergence of IT, weak ties are formed online followed by profit, trust and experience sharing giving birth to online political communities and social media activists. We are in a smart phone era where everyone wants to be a field reporter. The reach of traditional media is on decline and increased use of internet provides cyberspace as a platform that facilitates political communication.

Although this media was designed for personal communication, in recent times has been used as political tool. Political speeches, demonstrations are being uploaded on YouTube watched by millions. person with least technical skills can create political content online (blog, Twitter) and can have his share of fame with hundreds of users following his posts. Political demonstrations can be organized with people mobilized online through Facebook, twitter and by sending SMSes.

As a testimony to the above said fact were the recent protests in North Africa and Middle East beginning with political upheavals in Tunisia, Egypt and spreading to other parts of the region including Libya, Yemen and Syria. In this paper, we try to explore if social media can be used as an effective tool in politics. Can it make a difference in natural politics and bring about social change? Can it be used as a long term tool to strengthen the civil society and politic sphere? Problem Structuring a) Stake Holder Analysis I. Stakeholder Map II. Specific Stakeholder Chart.

Government and Regulatory BodyFederal and state governmentsInternet service providersMinistry of information and broadcastingLegal framework for regulation IT Rules 2011| Political partiesBJPCongressRegional parties| Civil societyIndian think tankNon- profit organizationResearch and Education organization| Social media activistsAwareness creatorsAdvocatesOrganizersmobilizers| Foreign GovernmentsG8BRICG20| Consumers of social media contentSilent searchersContributorsConventionalist- focused on discussing informationHobbyists| Traditional mediaPrint mediaTVNews channels| Social media ownersGoogleYahooFacebookMySpace|.

III. Identification of Stakes b) BOT Graph Previously a wide network was needed to organize mass scale demonstrations against any public policy.. Most often comrades of a party, nonprofit organization or student community had possessed such an organization capability. People formed clusters based on the common ideology or the interest that they shared. Traditional media such as Newspaper, television channels were used to reach people incurring high Transaction cost.

literate population is growing with increasing access to technologies like Internet at a cheaper cost makes Social media now a phenomena The following figure shows the intuitive relation between literacy, internet users, political activists and Dictators. It means that as more people are educated, they have the basic skills to user Internet. As the political turmoil increases in a country, people use social media to voice their opinion about political situation in their country. Therefore number of political activists increases.

More and number of people join offline the protest which was conceptualized online bring down the dictatorship rule reducing number of dictators. LITERATURE REVIEW 1. Political unrest in Tunisia Research paper “Emerging role of social media in political and Regime change” by Rita safranek takes a deep insight into the various components of social media. The book takes a look into the issues in the following sections. i. Political unrest in Philippines ii. Political unrest in Iran iii. Political unrest in Tunisia iv. Criticism of Twitter Revolution

In 1994, Facebook was created by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg as a way to connect with his friends on campus. It grew to be large social network with 850 million users in USA alone. Other micro blogging sites like Twitter have been growing steadily since its launch. YouTube provides a platform to share videos. These three big social media were a major Hit because an average person with no computer skills can use it with good success. Social media is a major attraction to the youth because Traditional social economic barrier are broken providing them a level playing field.

Social media has been used to form activities of civil societies such as Mobs and civil movements and Several countries has been cited as examples: Philippines, Iran and Tunisia where activists used Facebook, LiveJournal and Twitter to organize protests followed by successful large demonstrations. Rulers in these countries tried to suppress the demonstrations by not allowing traditional media to cover the news and mislead the public by posting erroneous timings and cyber blocks. Though internet was censored cyber activists circulated protest videos among the closed circuit with greater reach.

World took a look at these small countries and their political oppressions. Analysts claim success of social media has to do with the affordability (low cost) of technology and conditions of their use (Gender and economics) while critics argue that social media is that the social network is built around weak ties as political participation requires lesser motivation. Twitter has their inbuilt short comings such as word limit of 140 words. Statistics also shows the market penetration of internet in developing countries is minimal when compared to developed countries.

Hence not sustainable. 2. Research paper “Social media and politics: Therortical and methodogical considerations in designing a study of political engagement ” by Maja Tunrsek. This paper discusses about nation state polity and global state polity. Pre globalization the nation state regulated all public transactions. Post globalization, power has been transferred outside the nation to economic private powers which gave rise to sovereignty, democracy. As a result, they are facing a deficit in decision making.

On an individual level, since they are no more controlled by state polity , they are moving towards individualistic politics such as lifestyle politic, consumerism. In order to convince people on global issues. People started mobilizing people cutting through boundaries by writing blogs, viral marketing, initiating petitions etc. There are several theories explains the impact of social media on democracy. “Techno optimists” of view that internet is lower the cost of participation. It is providing a platform where individuals can interact with other individuals who share same interest.

Public scrutiny of political mandate made easier where the elites and influential people are also under the purview of scrutiny. Techno pessimists counter argue that Internet is a perceived only as legitimate way of democracy. If this trend is followed, politicians will see this as an opportunity to circumvent traditional journalist and reach their audience with tailored content. Now the onus lies on the consumers to evaluate the authenticity of the content they are presented with. Like any other technology, social media also has it pros and cons.

Social media alone cannot be made responsible for good democracy and dispersion of neither power nor used tacitly will lead to concentration and abuse of power. These were created based on institutional needs so their impact will depend on the structure and rules of the institution. 3. Research paper “The impact of social media on Agenda setting in Elections campaign: Cross media and cross national comparisons ” by Gunn Enli. This paper throws insight on how media has evolved and its implication on politics.

In early 60’s media was dominated by television as medium for political communication and continued domineering for three decades. With the advent of digital technology, political communication took a different direction with more importance laid on mundane and populism. Politician have come of an age and have started using social media as a strategic tool say in election campaigning. Social media and traditional media have differed on various aspects such as reach, issues addressed, debating style and political impact.

In past, television has placed a crucial role in setting up political agenda as it was the majority news provide. Media landscape is changed and replaced by cyber space where people spend most of their time and discuss the issues that matter to them the most. Sooner, citizens will comfortable in the liking the Facebook page of their leaders as it would provide and easy and direct way of communicating with him. In developed countries like USA, the scenario is more favorable as the majority of the population has access to internet and tech savvy.

The trend of using of Social media for the brand management of leaders, election campaigning, political survey will continue. It also pose a potential threat of content posted online can go viral in a fraction of million second and can cause greater damage to the reputation. Hence should be handled with caution. Research Problem Can social media can be used as an effective tool in politics. Can it make a difference in natural politics and bring about social change? Can it be used as a long term tool to strengthen the civil society and politic sphere? Research Objective.

The research objective of this paper is to understand the effectiveness of social media in political sphere * role of social media in bringing political revolution in countries like Egypt * relationship between traditional and social media in setting up the political agenda * Using social media in politics of developed economies like USA Research Questions What level of political openness and trust between individuals online can be perceived as political participation? Are we seeing revolutions triggered by the social media because of low transaction cost involved in mobilizing people?

Can social media have that impact of transforming individuals? Can it give them competencies that will empower them in politics? Why politicians in few countries have chosen to use social media in their political campaigns What is the dynamics between traditional and social media in setting agenda for election campaigns? Proposed Methodology & Methods The proposed methodology is basically based on the research objective. a) The Input- Output Method This method uses a well-known truth that you cannot get something out of nothing. There has to be an input to produce an output.

Using this method for research purpose makes the estimation really easy. Technology and inputs are far better defined.. b) Systematic study Factors affecting political participation are studied systematic ally by applying an empirical model O-S-O-R model. According to the O-S- O-R model, the activity of the political participation is a response result arising from a casual relationship between online activity and result orientation. To investigate the study subjects, a survey was conducted. The target population covered male and female adults above the age of 19.

Questionnaire was created to capture the relationship between casual variable c) Qualitative case study method Cases of different countries are selected and are analyzed In detail about its features and impact. The data gathered through this method is rich as well as complementary with the theoretical framework such as shareholder’s analysis and casual loop diagram and also was helpful in answering research questions. Each case is taken In isolation analyzing the unique features that led to revolution followed by comparison with case of another country and a parallel is drawn CAUSAL- LOOP Diagram.

For drawing the causal loop diagram we need to identify the different variables that will impact the effectiveness of social media in politics. Following are the variables: 1) literates 2) internet users 3) Internet regulations 4) Political activists 5) Dictators 6) Social media 7) Traditional media 8) Online political activists 9) Political activism 10) Protests 11) Dictators 12) Tyranny 13) Democracy 14) Internet censorship From the causal loop we can see that there are 2 positive feedback loops(Reinforcing ) and one negative feedback loop(Balancing).

Increase in literates will lead to increase in internet users will lead to increase in usage of internet applications such as Facebook, Twiiter. As people identify with likeminded people, they form clusters or communities and share views about common causes, agenda. When the government doesn’t reciprocate the grievances or mundane of the public will lead to more political activism online. These activism will be transformed into demonstrations and protest. If the government tries to suppress political activism through internet censorship will lead to people finding ways to circumvent censorship.

Ultimately, state has to bow to the public leading to fall of unpopular regimes. As democracy flourishes, standard of living and thus literacy increases. Limitations of the Study There are few limitations to the study and the research methods adopted is empirical evidence to prove that people who protested in countries like Tunisia and Iran used social media for organizing mob. Few research papers available only suggested that during the revolution, social media played the role of traditional media reporting the events that took place.

Similarly no empirical evidence to prove that brand value of a political leader was increased by efficient use of social media during election campaigning References http://www. parl. gc. ca/Content/LOP/ResearchPublications/2010-10-e. htm http://www. foreignaffairs. com/articles/67038/clay-shirky/the-political-power-of-social-media http://articles. washingtonpost. com/2012-01-25/national/35440649_1_pipa-and-sopa-social-media-wikipedia http://overland. org. au/blogs/new-words/2012/10/beyond-twibbons-thinking-about-politics-and-social-media/.