|Pic from Bayo Adelabu Social Media Parley held recently.
The media are generally acknowledged as the oxygen of democratic governance. The media play a crucial role at the public sphere where communicative actions are taken to determine the directions of public discourse. And thus making democracy to thrives in the cross-fertilization of ideas, and the media provide the needed platform, the market place of ideas for the nurturing of democratic norms and ideals.
In furtherance to that, social media; an offshoot of electronic media, has greatly influenced the political attitudes and behaviour of young people in recent time, especially 2011 till date, and the role played by social media in 2015 general election here in Nigeria can not be waved. Facebook is an important point in the space of social media, having a large follower of young individuals, youth networks or groups as well as youth appeal for information gathering and dissemination.
Young people’s everyday political conversations, as expressions of political citizenship in social media, are minimally researched when approached from a non-formal understanding of politics and citizenship (Harris and Wyn, 2009). One of the emergent places for young people having a say, especially among peers, is the Internet, and in particular, social networking sites and youth oriented discussion forums. There is a lively debate within youth citizenship studies about the ways the Internet is changing young people’s political outlooks and participatory behaviour, and a widespread agreement that conventional politics has not sufficiently realized the potential of the net in attracting youth (Harris and Wyn, 2009).
The news media was useful not only for mobilizing voters but also in integrating all other facets of campaigns, including rally organizing and delivering campaign communications to potential voters on a consistent basis, at almost no cost to them.
New ways of communicating, using the social media, has a democratic potential that opens for new forms of political participation and conversations with education.
Currently, Facebook and twitter are the most popular Social Networking Site in the world and have also achieved phenomenal popularity in Nigeria. In recent years, news reports have frequently portrayed social media such as Facebook and Twitter as playing a key role in social upheavals and political protests in country.
In contemporary societies, networking sites have greatly impacted the political participation of people; the Iran use e-mail messages to increase political participation of youths have been found to be positive, likewise in Kenya, use of e-mail was found to raise political participation among the youth. In the USA, Facebook usage and political participation as sensitized by President Barrack Obama recorded a high success rate.
(Excerpt from a research work, SOURCES OF POLITICAL LITERACY AND ATTITUDES TOWARD POLITICAL PARTICIPATION AMONG YOUNG ADULT IN IBADAN METROPOLIS BY AKINTUNDE YUSUF AKINTUNDE)