TOPIC: THE ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN CREATING OF AWARENESS DURING 2015 GENERAL ELECTION IN NIGERIA:

TOPIC:
THE ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN CREATING OF AWARENESS DURING
2015 GENERAL ELECTION IN NIGERIA:

(11000 Words)

 

 

1.1       INTRODUCTION

The emergence of the Internet as the new mass medium of the 21st century now changes the mass media substantially. Information can be distributed at high speed, low cost, and broad scope and as a result, there is egalitarian access to the production and the consumption of news (Prat and Strömberg, 2011)

The recent election of Muhammadu Buhari as president of Nigeria has been hailed internationally as a historic transfer of power for Africa‗s most populous nation with social media playing greater role or influenced the fairness of the election. Social media  with  all  their  flaws  had  the  power  of  immediacy.  They‗re  also  very participatory. In an election where you have citizens who are participating, they were also providing the news and information surrounding the elections. It was an empowerment of people through their votes, and also through their ability to disseminate information. That is not to say that traditional media didn‗t play a role. But the social media role was central. The world is becoming increasingly connected via the power of the Internet; Facebook launched internet.org an initiative to gain even the most remote parts of society access  to the World Wide Web. Political movements have begun to see social media as a major organizing and recruiting tool and the reverse can be said for society. Social media (done right) gives you all this because it‗s inherently a two-way communication system. Rather than getting brand messages, you get recommendations from friends in the form of re-shares and recommended posts, which de-commercializes the brand message.

 

Social media is that space, the many tools helping to amplify the voices of average Nigerians, taking ordinary voice sand making them extraordinary by bringing them to homes, offices, and places most of them would have probably never reached under different  circumstances.  It  started  out  as  a  playground  for  mostly  young  jobless people. Today, it has become the battle ground of what would arguably be the most competitive election in Nigeria‘s history.

The advent of internet and technology has exposed majority of the global population to different interactive platforms on which different kind of information is exchanged which might significantly have effect on human behavior, decision and judgment (CES,2012). Social media are new information network and information technology using a form of communication utilizing interactive and user-produced content, and interpersonal relationships are created and maintained.

According to Eugene, 2015. The popularity of getting political news from social media platforms is greatly increasing. A 2014 study showed that 62% of web users turn to Facebook to find political news. This social phenomenon allows for political information, true or not, spreading quickly and easily among peer networks. Furthermore, social media sites are now encouraging political involvement by uniting like-minded  people,  reminding  users  to  vote  in  elections,  and  analyzing  users‗ political affiliation data to find cultural similarities and differences. As social media gains  more  popularity  and  scope,  its  impact  on  voters‘  political  and  cultural perceptions cannot be underestimated as social media practically influences the way users  interact,  communicate and  make decisions  on  social,  cultural,  and  political issues in today‘s world.

The social media has become a powerful medium which may affect voting behavior because of its potential to provide direct and cheap access to the production and

 

consumption of current information at any part of the world without editorial filtering (Sunstein, 2001). Not only do social media provide information about political affiliations, candidates and their party manifestoes, it also provides a platform through which voters across cultural divides can relate and interact with themselves on issues about these candidates.  Social media can help taint the reputation of political figures fairly quickly with information that may or may not be true. Information spreads like wildfire  and  before  a  politician  can  even  get  an  opportunity  to  address  the information, either to confirm, deny, or explain, the public has already formed an opinion about the politician based on that information. However, when conducted on purpose, the spread of  information on social  media for political means can  help campaigns immensely. Open forums online have also been the root of negative and positive effects in the political sphere. Some politicians have made the mistake of using open forums to try and reach a broader audience and thus more potential voters. What they forgot to account for was that the forums would be open to everyone, including those in opposition. Having no control the comments being posted, negative included, has been damaging for some with unfortunate oversight. Additionally, a constraint of social media as a tool for public political discourse is that if oppressive governments recognize the ability social media has to cause change.

Today‘s social media has made the world a ―global village‖, with the quick transfer of information overriding the challenges of time and distance (Friedman, 2007). Social media has gradually become one of the important means of influencing the society and this influence is based exclusively on its social aspects of interaction and participation.

Nearly every political party in the country used social media to campaign and advance its plans, message and manifestos to supporters including advertising, mobilization

 

and organizing in all the states of the federation, and even fundraising. Facebook, YouTube and especially Twitter were used to let voters know how each party or particular candidate felt  about  important  national  issues  ranging from  security to power. Hence social media became powerful enough to influence voter decisions and choices as many voters who had fixed their minds and conscience on voting a particular party or candidate began to change their minds based on certain information or idea they got online about the party or candidate. Information gotten by a particular voter was also not static, as the same voter would use several internet tools and buttons to broadcast same message to other voters like him through medium such as blogs, Facebook, Nairaland, chat rooms etc. in order to influence them.

 

1.2       STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

 

The use of emotional appeals in political campaigns to increase support for a candidate or decrease support for a challenger is a widely recognized practice and a common element of any campaign strategy (Brader, T. 2006). Campaigns often seek to instill positive emotions such as zeal and hopefulness about their candidate to improve turnout and political activism while seeking to raise fear and anxiety about the opposition. Zeal tends to reinforce preference for the candidate and party, while fear and anxiety interrupt voter behavioral patterns and leads individual voters to look for new sources of information on divergent political issues (Marcus et al, 2000). Sources of information available to a voter vary widely including the traditional media, TV, radio and newspapers. However, with the advent of online social media forum, most voters can access information, debate on the information and also give feedback on his own views, opinions and expectations from the party and candidate. Although the social media has helped in increasing the awareness about 2015 general

election. Rumors, falsehood, propaganda and derogatory information about individual

 

candidates or parties are commonplace online and spread faster than anticipated, often with disastrous outcomes. This is largely attributed to the lack of editorial filtering, and the anonymity of most online users. The internet encourages anonymity of its

users, which means that those who write and comment often use nicknames or aliases. This has a huge influence on voter behavior, as most voters who read stories online have a tendency to believe such stories without crosschecking facts and take decisions based on this propaganda. This is a widely known fact among political parties and

they use it to their advantage in bringing down their opponents.

 

 

 

 

Previous research has found that it is possible to influence a person’ attitudes toward a political candidate using carefully crafted information about such candidate online, which in turn may influence the voter‘s behavior towards the candidate. Social media can also be used by various parties to propagate false news and propaganda about the opposition in order to disfavor such party or candidate in the eyes of the electorates while exonerating theirs. This has a huge influence on voter behavior as many voters make decisions based on such news they read online.

Furthermore, social media has made voters privy to any kind of information about

 

2015 general election as there are no longer any isolated places or hiding holes. The private and public lives of society‘s most influential figures including politicians have been made public online. This is because in today‘s world, once a politician declares for a post, his entire life including his educational background, his family, his job and any past mistakes or excesses are made public on social media platforms for people to comment, discuss and publicly judge. Many politicians have been found in compromising positions with their words or phrase taken out of context and magnified

to huge proportions by opposition parties in order to discredit them. Many a times,

 

people  go  to  the  extent  of  recording  private  conversations  or  actions  of  these

 

candidates and make the recorded audio or video public on various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter quickly, with a view to elicit response and vicious backlash from voters and other online users. The belief is that it will go a long way in influencing voter‘s behavior and turning such voter against the candidate since the voter can now judgmentally make decisions about the candidate based on what he said, did or other information about him or her. Even though, such information are refuted sometimes by the concerned party or individual, it remains valid in the minds of many voters who may have made up their mind already or simply are not aware of the true situation.

 

1.3       SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

 

This study will help beam the searchlight on the impact of social media on creating awareness to voters during elections as a whole based on the information available by Facebook and Twitter. It will also enlighten relevant stakeholders such as political parties, candidates, and even the civil society on how social media can bring about awareness and campaign opportunities if properly utilized.

This research study will help stakeholders understand that maintaining a good and healthy profile online with a cordial relationship between the party and voters can positively influence voter‘s behavior. Lastly, this research work will add to the body of knowledge on the already existing scholarly materials on the impact of social media in creating awareness to the society.

 

 

1.4       PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

 

This study will examine the role of social media in creating awareness with special reference to the actual effect of Facebook and Twitter on voter‘s and the factors

 

determining the behavior and attitudes that an ordinary voter adopts based on available information gotten on the social media.

 

 

1.5       AIM AND OBJECTIVES.

 

The aim of the study is to find out the role played by social media in the 2015 general election awareness creation Facebook and Twitter. Hence the specific objectives are as fallow:

 

 

  1. To find out the role played by social media in creating awareness in 2015 general election.
  2. To determine the level of influence social media has on the success of 2015 general election.
  3. To find out factors that influence/drive awareness creation of the social media during 2015 general election.
  4. To identify the lesson from the role social media play in 2015 general election

 

 

 

1.6       RESEARCH QUESTIONS

 

  1. What are the roles played by social media in creating awareness in the 2015 general election?
  2. To what extend did the social media contribute to the success of the present administration in the 2015 general elections?
  3. To what extend did politicians employ the social networking sites of Facebook and Tweeter in campaign for the 2015 general elections?
  4. In what  ways  do  social  media  need  improvement  to  play  major  roles  in elections in Nigeria?

 

1.7       BRIEF METHODOLOGY

 

The study used survey research  design.  Surveys  allow for the study of people‘s opinion on a given issue of public interest. According to Onwukwe (2011), ―survey research is concerned with the collection of data for the purpose of describing and interpreting  a  certain  condition,  practice,  beliefs,  attitudes,  etc.‖  The  purpose  is usually to describe systematically the facts, qualities or characteristics of a given population, events, or areas of interest concerning the problem under investigation.

 

 

 

1.8       LITERATURE REVIEW

 

The use of social media in politics has continued to grow in recent times. Since Barack Obama broke the world record in the history of social media use for political purpose  during  the  2008  US  presidential  elections,  many nations  and  politicians across the globe have continued to embrace the platform to mobilize their citizens and candidates towards active participation in the political process. (Okoro and Kenneth,

2013).

 

Nigeria had the first real test of social media use for political participation during the

 

2011general elections. The 2011 general elections offer a unique context and opportunity to examine the use of social media in elections, especially the usefulness and applicability of social media in the electoral environment. Although it seems obvious that social media contributed in no small measure to the success of the 2011 elections, but there are lot of misusage and problems that arise from the social networking community. It is pertinent to understand specifically how particular stakeholders in the 2011 elections, like INEC, politicians/political parties, the electorate, and SOs, used the social media during the elections, including INEC, politicians/political parties, the electorate, and CSOs.

 

 

 

 

1.9       DEFINITION OF TERMS

 

Awareness: Is the ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects, thoughts, emotions, or sensory patterns.

 

Election: The formal process of selecting a person for public office or of accepting or rejecting a political proposition by voting.

 

Facebook: Is an online social networking service that enables users to chart share and send pictures, and other multimedia items.

 

General Election: Is an election in which all or most members of a given political body are chosen. (Wikipedia 2015)

Internet:  An interconnected group of computer networks allowing for electronic communication.

 

Social Media:  Are computer mediated tools that allow people to create, share

 

or exchange information, ideas and pictures/videos in virtual communities and online networks.

Social Network: Is structure made up of a set of social actors (such as individuals or organizations) and a set of the dyadic ties between these actors.

Twitter: Is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called “tweets”.

 

Case study: Yin (2003) defines a case study as an empirical inquiry that uses multiple sources of evidence to investigate a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, in which the boundaries between the phenomenon.

 

.CSO: Civil Organization and Society

 

 

INEC: Independent National Electoral Commission

 

NGO: Non-Governmental Organization.

 

 

1.10     CONCLUSION

 

 

The chapter were able to bring out the whole concept of what the study is all about and the main focus that the study is tend to focus and what is intended to learn from the basic of the study including of important terms and terminology needed for the propose of study.

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

 

LITERATURE REVIEW

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.1       INTRODUCTION

 

 

The chapter is to explore related work that was studied before around the globe from the original start up of Barrack Obama in United Stated, Europe, then to other part of the world, where social media played a major role in creating awareness not only to election but to democratization process that has been long coming.

 

Then we will look at the previous work of individuasl that try to look at Nigerian perspectives of 2011 where many scholars like Okoro and Kenneth, (2013) insist on the fact that social media create nothing but violence, to the recent related study of Eugene, 2015 and explore what it lacks and add to the existing literature.

 

Lastly we will look at the theories that discuss media effect and seek for relevant useful theory that best describe our study, from the development of the theory to the basic  assumption of the theory,

 

2.2       REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

 

 

The term ‗Social Media‘ has been defined in different ways by its users, ICT experts, and authors. Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) define social media as ―a group of internet- based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web

2.0 and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content‖. It includes web-based and mobile based technologies that are used to turn communication into interactive dialogue among individuals, organizations, and communities. Typical examples  of social  media platforms  include websites  such as  Facebook,  Twitter,

 

Flickr, Youtube and the interactive options on these websites, such as the ―re- tweeting‖ option on Twitter. These instruments are referred to as media because they are tools which can also be used for the storage and dissemination of information, however unlike the traditional media like Television and Radio, most of the social media tools allow their users to interact as ―re–twitting‖ on Twitter and ―comment‖ options on Facebook illustrate.

Looking at social media from a more practical point of view, (Sweetser and Lariscy

 

2008) define social media as a ―read-write Web, where the online audience moves beyond passive viewing of Web content to actually contributing to the content‖. One thing that is common in most definitions of social media is the point that it is based on user-generated participation. The opportunity to enjoy user-to-user interaction distinguishes social media from the traditional media which is characterized by top- down news dissemination arrangement (Clark and Aufderheide 2009). Another attribute of the social media which distinguishes it from the traditional media is the choice it accords to its users. Choice enables people to access the information they like to learn about through the social media, eliminating the gatekeeper role of traditional media. On one hand, the choice offered by social media reduces the shared experience that viewers of particular traditional media channels usually have; on the other hand, it creates a network of individuals with like interests and similar preferences.

Two primary tools that have enabled people to socialize and connect with each other online are social networking sites and electronic messaging. More than half of America‘s teens and young adults send electronic messages and use social networking sites, and more than one third of all internet users engage in these activities (Jones and Fox 2009). In Nigeria, over 3 million people have Facebook accounts, while about

 

60,000 people are on Twitter (Asuni and Farris 2011). Most people who use social media  tools  access  them  mainly  through  computers  and  mobile  devices  such  as phones and Tablet PCs. Analysts suggest that majority of phone purchases in the coming years will be more for using online networks rather than making phone calls (Baekdal 2008). Thus, phone communication is now tending toward oneto-many sharing rather than the usual one-to-one conversation.

Social media technologies take on different forms including magazines, internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, podcasts, pictures, and video. Considering that social media come in diverse forms, Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) tried to classify social media into six distinct categories:

  • Collaborative projects (e.g. Wikipedia)

 

  • Blogs and microblogs (e.g. Twitter)

 

  • Content communities (e.g. YouTube)

 

  • Social networking sites (e.g. Facebook)

 

  • Virtual game worlds (e.g. World of Warcraft)

 

  • Virtual social worlds (e.g. Second Life)

 

Out of these six categories of social media tools, three categories (blogs and micro blogs, content communities, and social networking sites) are the ones that are most relevant to the application of social media in the electoral process. In the process of political communication, there has been strong intermediation between the traditional media and the three categories of social media mentioned above. Traditional media channels, particularly television and newspapers, try to expand their reach by using social media platforms for news broadcast. In Nigeria for example, many newspapers like Guardian, Vanguard, Daily Trust, and ThisDay as well as television stations like Channels, have Facebook and Twitter accounts. A common trend among traditional

 

media houses, especially the television stations, is to have i-reporters. I-reporters are individuals without professional experience of journalism, but who can utilize their dexterity in the use of social media tools to broadcast messages about events taking place around them through the traditional media. I-reporters share pictures and videos of events with the public through the television. In this way, the traditional media rely on users of social media for news, information and leads, the same way that social media utilize news and information emanating from newspapers, radio and television channels.

Social media has shaped political communication in four major ways. Firstly, it has deepened  segmentation  of  audience  triggered  by  the  rise  of  network  television channels and specialized magazines and websites. Segmentation of audience is a product of two main elements of the social media: diversification of coverage and selective exposure (that is, finding information that aligns with the predispositions of individuals) (Stroud 2008). Social media makes it possible for its users to read and discuss specific issues and then connect with other individuals who share their beliefs. This has the possibility of creating individual voters that are fixated on specific issues and who may not be able to relate with the wider issues that are part of a general election. The existence of different media and brands of information platform can slit political communication into different segments – all addressing the same issues from different perspectives.

The second way social media has shaped political communication is by weakening the gatekeeping capacity of the traditional media. Before the emergence of social media, the traditional media played a key role in deciding what is sufficiently important to be aired to the public. This gatekeeper role of the traditional media enables it to set the agenda of public discourse. In the 1970s, (McCombs and Shaw, 1972) asserted that

 

―the mass media force attention to certain issues. They build up public images of political figures. They are constantly presenting objects suggesting what individuals in the mass should think about, know about, [and] have feelings about‖.  McCombs and Shaw insist that a small number of mass media news producers dominate the market, and therefore, audiences only get information about what the media decides is important enough to be covered. By presenting politicians with a platform to speak directly to their constituents and potential voters without the traditional media intermediary, the social media has largely curtailed the agenda setting role of the traditional media (Gillin, 2008).

Social  media  outlets  have  a  responsibility  to  develop  and  implement  social networking guidelines for their users.

Finally, social media has emerged as the new influencer in social, economic and political settings. Research has shown that increasing use of social media for political communication has led to declining newspaper readership and television viewership in many countries (Australian Media and Communication Authority 2007). Under this circumstance, the social media may likely continue to dominate political communication, and to serve as a tool for gathering and disseminating political messages.

 

 

 

2.2.1    ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN DEMOCRACY

 

In  recent times, world  politics have witnessed  lot of events, where social media played a significant role. Social media led to major overhauling of the world politics. On one side long standing regimes of dictators got buried under the weight of revolutions, spearheaded by internet connectivity and on the other hand voters got influenced by the campaigns on social media. (Surjit and Manpreet, 2013).As the

 

Internet has become ever-present, quicker, and ever more accessible to non-technical communities, social networking and mutual services have grown rapidly, enabling people to communicate and share interests in many more ways. (Oyesomi, et al.

2014). Modern inclinations and advancement in modern technologies seem to be eroding the glory of the mainstream media. Social Media mirrors the real world and is all about conversations. Social media facilitate the interactive web by engaging users to participate in, comment on and create content as means of communicating with social graph, other users and the public. (Surjit and Manpreet, 2013). This implies that, social media has emerged as a major tool where citizens are able to talk about the issues of day to day life and also of national importance. In 21st century, Facebook, and Twitter are not just innovations in the internet world, but are fast emerging as influencers and opinion creators. The use of social media in politics has continued to grow in recent times. Since Barack Obama broke the world record in the history of social media use for political purpose during the 2008 US presidential elections, many nations and politicians across the globe have continued to embrace the platform to mobilize their citizens and candidates towards active participation in the political process.  The  tactics  employed  by  Barrack  Obama  in  his  presidential  election campaign in the 2008 US elections has changed the rules of political communication and since then electoral campaigns have been more about social networking; using the existing and emerging social media platforms than the conventional approach which emphasized more of one-way communication with limited chances to generate feedbacks. (Okoro, and Kenneth, 2013). This singular event brought social networks into  limelight  especially Facebook  which  has  now been  turned  to  an  advertising medium especially for Nigerian politicians.

 

2.2.2    ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN CREATING AWARENESS DURING ELECTION IN THE USA

A closer look at the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama will reveal the role of social media in his elections. The 2008 Obama Presidential campaign made history. Not only was Obama the first African American to be elected president, but he was also  the  first  presidential  candidate  to  effectively  use  social  media  as  a  major campaign strategy, Facebook and Twitter in particular. In 2008, his campaign managers used social media effectively by sending voting reminders on Twitter and interacting with people on Facebook. When Obama announced his candidacy in 2007, Twitter had only just started and there wasn‘t even an iPhone yet. He was quick to pick up an innovative  media to make his presence felt and  effectively marketed himself. In 2012, the scenario was totally different in United States of America, with

69 % adult social network users and 66% of social media users actively engage in political activism online. President Obama maintained a significant lead in both Facebook likes and Twitter followers over his rival Governor Romney during his election promotion. At the end of the campaign, Obama had 22.7 million followers and 32.2 million likes, compared to Romney‘s 1.8 million followers and 12.1 million likes (Foulger, 2012). This huge difference in online followers was translated into a historic win for Barack Obama. He won the elections despite bleak economic conditions, weak dollar and high unemployment rate.

 

 

 

2.2.3    ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN CREATING AWARENESS DURING ELECTION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

The 2010 UK election was billed as the internet election, the social media election with much attention focused on how campaigners, commentators and voters have

 

responded to ground-breaking digital campaigns elsewhere; notably in the United States.  From  Twitter  to  Facebook,  through  viral  crowd  sourced  ads,  sentiment tracking and internet polling, technology appeared to offer political parties and mainstream media organizations powerful new ways to engage voters and audiences. (Newman,  2009).  There  were high  hopes  that  new forms  of personal  expression through blogs and social networks would widen participation and the range of democratic voices. Indeed, 2010 election did mark another significant milestone in the onward march of the internet, with unprecedented levels of participation and new techniques providing extra layers of information,  context and real-time feedback, which complemented and enriched more traditional forms of media.

According to Reuters Institute of study of Journalism, Oxford University, 2010. There are six core conclusions from this study which should be noted by politicians and media practitioners alike:

  1. Social and digital media increased political engagement and appear to have contributed to higher turnout – particularly amongst the 18–24 group (+7% on 2005). This paper contains evidence of ways in which young people used social media to engage in political discussion and debate. One in four posted election related comments through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter – 81% felt engaged in the election, the highest of any demographic group. New records were set for use of – and engagement with – the websites of broadcasters and newspapers.
  2. Social software helped political parties organize their activists more efficiently with political parties reporting three times more compared to face-to-face contacts as a result of US imported virtual phone banks and party-based online social networks.
  3. Twitter cemented its place as a core tool of communication amongst political and media elites. It reached critical mass during this campaign and became an essential

 

source of real-time information for journalists and politicians alike. 600 candidates engaged with Twitter during the campaign, alongside hundreds of journalists, party workers and spin doctors. 198 members of the new parliament are active, including five members of the cabinet.

  1. Newspapers and broadcasters have normalized their use of social media as source material, filtering the best for a mass audience – and developing new skills and roles for accurate or ‗networked journalism‘ in the process. Through the use of live blogs, digital correspondents and republication/retransmission, this study demonstrates how the mainstream media helped amplify the impact of social media tools like Twitter and Facebook.
  2. While television remained the dominant medium for many in this election, young people in particular got much of their news via online social recommendation and this in turn has increased the importance of online news sources at the expense of printed newspapers and broadcast news. Online news sites were the most important source of election news for 18–24 year olds, ahead of television and printed newspapers.
  3. Social media and internet activity provided new routes to transparency during this election. This study includes a number of examples of how social and digital media have improved the way in which politicians and the media are held to account, contributing to a new and more open political climate. The issues and conclusions are framed   within   a   wider   international   debate   about   the   importance   of   these developments to the changing shape of mainstream media organizations, to levels of civic engagement, debates about quality, trust and accuracy, and to discussions about the practice and future of journalism.

 

2.2.4    ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN CREATING AWARENESS IN IRAN

 

The 2009 Iranian presidential election protests, also called the ―Green  Revolution‖

 

and the ―Persian Awakening,‖ began on June 13, 2009. Protesters disputed the victory

of  Mahmoud  Ahmadinejad  in  support  of  Mir‐HosseinMousavi,  contending  that

Ahmadinejad  had  won  the  election  fraudulently  (Bower,  Amanpour,  Desta,  &

 

Bozorgmehr, 2009).

 

 

To counter the protesters, the regime censored newspapers, blocked websites, and jammed satellite transmissions. The telephone system used for texting was taken down (―EDITORIAL:  Iran‘s  Twitter  revolution,‖ 2009) at  one point,  all  Internet connections were taken down for a period of 20 hours (Moscaritolo, 2009).

 

Despite  the  efforts  of  the  regime  to  quiet  protesters,  social  media  was  used  to broadcast the protests and violence surrounding them to the world. Iran ―by one estimate‖ has more bloggers per capita than any other country in the world. ―Any Iranian with a mobile phone could film the protests and the response of the security forces. Hour by hour, these clips found their way onto YouTube and countless blogging sites‖  (Blair, 2009). The protests were quickly nicknamed ―The Twitter Revolution‖  because of the activists‘ reliance on the social network for communication. At its peak, a search for “Iran” on Twitter generated over 100,000 tweets per day and over 8,000 tweets per hour (Boguta, 2009). Protesters used Twitter and other social media to warn each other of dangers and communicate basic information. Iranians used Twitter to tell each other where NOT to go. They used it to help each other. The government did what it could to bog down the communication networks (both the Internet and SMS), but people both inside and outside Iran made

efforts in creating work‐around to the blocks, like secure server space outside of Iran

for use in protest‐organizing message boards (Vafa, 2010). In Iran, there is only one

 

Internet provider, the government‐run company Data Communication of Iran (DCI).

DCI can program its Internet routers to block access to particular sites, like YouTube.

 

DCI can also throttle back the total amount of Internet data entering or leaving the country, or it can shut off the Internet altogether (Bray, 2009). However, Twitter messages can be sent by many websites, making it impossible for the government to find and block each one. This is why Twitter rose to the top of communication methods during the prime of the protests.

 

As the messages from social media began to reach the rest of the world, people outside of Iran turned their home computers into what is known as a ―proxy,‖ a virtual host that substitutes for the home connection of users in Iran, allowing them to bypass the filters employed by Iranian government censors (Bray, 2009). Taking it a step further, political activists used Twitter and other social media sites to recruit hackers

to help with the protests, calling for DDoS (Distributed denial‐of‐service) attacks

against Iranian government websites, making them unusable or taking them down

 

completely (Moscaritolo, 2009).

 

 

This crisis also marked an increased understanding of the problems social media‘s transparency (or false sense of transparency) can bring. There were a number of reports that Twitter accounts, email addresses, and Facebook accounts were hacked by what appears to be the Iranian government. ―[It  is believed] that since some of those [hacked accounts were] used to spread misinformation about the location of

rallies, it was an organized or semi‐organized effort by the Iranian government to

spread misinformation‖ (Moscaritolo, 2009).

 

The crisis in Iran highlighted the value of Twitter by sharing the struggles of the Iranian protesters with the world, seemingly at the very moment when Twitter‘s value was being questioned (Bray, 2009).

 

Today’s technology ensures that Iran’s regime will not be so fortunate‖ (Blair, 2009). Ahmadinejad  remains  in  power  as  of  this  writing,  but  the success  of  the Green Revolution may not depend solely on deposing Ahmadinejad. As one blogger wrote: Iran is arguably one of the most enigmatic and isolated countries in the world. Yet for

the past year, MILLIONS of non‐Iranians have been made aware of the democratic

aspirations   of   the   Iranian   people.   Is   this   worthless?   After   30+   years   of

 

mischaracterization and Orientalist rhetoric being thrown against a monolithic Iranian identity, people from all over the earth learned that Iranians are young, intelligent,

powerful, tech‐savvy, and hate their crooked government as much as the rest of the

world does (Vafa, 2010).

 

 

2.2.5    ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN CREATING AWARENESS IN EGYPT

 

 

Less than 24 hours after Internet access was shut down in Egypt during the massive

 

2011 protests, Google and Twitter launched Speak2Tweet, a service that allows Egyptians to use their mobile phones to record messages that are instantly translated into tweets with #egypt. In less than 24  hours the Speak2Tweet feed  had 8,660 followers who posted 897 tweets—roughly one tweet every two minutes (Kawamoto,

 

2011). Clearly, communication via Twitter was deemed important enough for these companies, both western‐based, to swiftly provide an alternative, an action that is just

 

one  of  many  marking   a  significant   change   in   communication  methods   and expectations  worldwide.  The use  of social  media in  the Egyptian  revolution  has received much attention. During the protests, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube were

 

key players in the communication of activists. When the Internet was shut down on January 27th, the protests did not dwindle, which brings into question the extent of the value and influence social media played in the revolution.

 

―The  riveting  images  beamed  into  millions  of  Egyptian  homes  of  the  Tunisian uprising appear to have led to a shift in the public consciousness‖  (Murphy, 2011). But Egypt is much larger than Tunisia, and many doubted that citizens would be united in the way they were in Tunisia. Iran Revolution, also called the Egyptian Protests, the Lotus Revolution, the Days of Rage, and the Papyrus Revolution, was inspired by a similar revolution in nearby Tunisia, which saw the overthrowing of the long time Tunisian president. Thousands took to the streets in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities in Egypt to protest poverty, unemployment, government corruption, and

the autocratic rule of 30‐year president Hosni Mubarak (Kanalley, 2011). The primary

demands from protest organizers were the end of Hosni Mubarak‘s regime, the end of

emergency law, and a call for freedom, justice, a responsive non‐military government,

and management of Egypt’s resources (Madrigal, 2011).

 

The following dates are significant to the revolution:

 

January 25, 2011: Protests began

 

January 27, 2011: All Internet access in Egypt is suspended

 

January 28, 2011: President Hosni Mubarak declares a new government will be formed.

January 31, 2011: A new Egyptian government is sworn in

 

February 1, 2011: Mubarak says that he won‘t run for reelection in September

 

February 2, 2011: Internet service returns in Egypt

 

February 10, 2011: Mubarak is expected to step down, but refuses

 

February 11, 2011: Mubarak resigns and leaves Cairo

 

2.2.6  ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN CREATING AWARENESS IN NIGERIAN ELECTION

 

Nigeria had her first real test of social media use for political purpose during the 2011 general elections. The new technology played an unprecedented role in the April 2011

Nigerian General Elections. INEC officials had in early March 2011 welcomed the assistance of civil society volunteers with its Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as a new media situation room which received feedback from the public and later began to provide real time information and answered constituent questions.

Nigerian politicians actively utilized social media in their campaigns. They sent bulk text and voice messages in unprecedented numbers. They made massive use of Facebook pages and other social media platforms to win supports and canvass for votes. President Jonathan as we mentioned earlier declared his intention to run for the presidency on Facebook and subsequently became the second most ―liked‖ head of state in the world after US President Barack Obama (fanpagelist.com).

Organizations  like  Enough  is  Enough  Nigeria,  ReclaimNaija,  WangoNet  and IamLagos established platforms enabling citizens to report election-related incidences with pictures, videos, text messages and voicemail. At the same time, traditional media houses such as Channels Television, 234Next and Punch newspaper used new media to disseminate information and gather feedback from viewers.

Adibe,  Odoemelam  and  Orji  (2012)  further  observe  that  during  the  elections  in Nigeria, many Nigerians were armed with their blackberries and Twitter feeds. One of such Nigerians was Gbenga, a 33 year old IT consultant and an activist. His team had designed a smart phone application called Revoda which allowed voters to instantly upload  reports  of  delayed  voting  materials  and  intimidating  gangs  at  their  local polling stations to their database; a daily summary was then sent to Nigerian election

 

officials  and  Western  observers  as  well  as  posted  on  their  Revoda  website;  this allowed many people within and outside Nigeria to follow the process.

Photos, pictures, details and videos from polling stations were quickly uploaded to

 

Facebook and Twitter.

 

There was another group, ―Reclaim Naija‖ who used text messages and e-mail reports to compile a live online map of trouble spots. There were also ―Twitter activists‖ whose job was to look out for rigging and spread warning about bombings at polling stations. (Omenugha, 2011) observed that this massive use of social media culminated in the success of the election acclaimed the freest and fairest in the history of the country.

Meanwhile, this disagrees with the observations of (Adeyaju and Harana, 2011) who believe that the technology did the nation greater harm than good as  it provided avenue to disseminate provocative and inciting messages that eventually precipitated the post-election violence and tensions witnessed in many parts of the country, particularly in the north. This study will shade more light on the positive effect the social media have particularly Facebook and twitter in creation positive awareness to general public and explore the way individuals use the social media to enlighten the general public to exercise violence free election and even afterward.

 

 

 

2.3       REVIEW OF RELATED THEORIES

 

2.3.1    RELATED THEORY

 

“This  approach  to  the  analysis  of  media  impacts  on audiences was  pioneered  by Blumler and Katz (1974, and Katz, 1959) and reversed the traditional research agenda by asking why people used the media rather than inquiring into what effects, if any, the media might have on audiences. In Katz’s own words, the research question was

 

‗not ―what do the media do to people?‖ but ―what do people do with the media?‖‘

 

(Katz, 1959)”

 

It is clear from the above scenario that some media scholars got carried away by the new perspectives on media effects — the findings that the media were not ―all- powerful‖. They (the scholars) now more or less asserted that the media had very little (if  any)  effect  on  their  audiences.  Hence  about  the  only  significant  theory  that emerged during the period, Uses and Gratification theory, shied away from discussing effects but rather concentrated on reception functions. In this study we are using users gratification  theory  as  related  theory,  this  is  because  the  theory  perceives  the consumer of media fare as actively influencing the consumption or reception, since he/she  selectively  chooses,  pays  attention  to,  interprets,  and  retains  the  media messages on the basis of his/her needs, beliefs or even his/her whims and caprices. The focus was thus shifted from media production and transmission functions to media reception and consumption functions. Instead of asking “What kinds of effects occur under what conditions?”the question became, “Who uses which contents from which media, for which reasons and under which conditions?”To the scholars concerned, the question of effects became tangential. The new scenario ran thus:

(i)        An individual has some communication or information need,

 

(ii)       (ii) He/she selectively picks the medium or media that appear(s) likely to meet his/her need,

(iii)      He/she selectively consumes the content. What about effect? (iv) Well, an effect may or may not occur!

Two weaknesses of the theory, which critics are usually quick to point out, are:

 

(a)      Needs are usually simply listed (entertainment, information, knowledge, relaxation, etc.) without being classified or operationalised.

 

(b)       Needs  are  often  defined  in  a  circular  way:  the  needs  are  identified  from behavior, which is in turn explained in terms of needs.

 

 

 

2.3.2    THE TECHNOLOGICAL DETERMINISM THEORY

 

 

 

The study is anchored on the interpretations of Technological Determinism which stated that media technology shapes how we as individuals in a society think, feel, act, and how society are operates as we move from one technological age to another (Tribal- Literate- Print- Electronic). This is to say that: We learn and feel and think the way we do because of the messages we receive through the current technology that is available. The radio required us to only listen and develop our sense of hearing. On the other hand, television engages both our hearing and visual senses.

 

We then transfer those developed senses into our everyday lives and we want to use them again. The medium is then our message. Humans do not have much free will at all.  Whatever society as a whole is using to communicate, they too will use to communicate.  Therefore they will adapt to the medium they are using so that they can send and receive messages like everyone else.

We know that there is one truth by observing what has happened over time.  As the medium changes so does society’s way of communicating.  People can only use the medium for which it was created (phone for talking over lines or electronic mail for talking via computer).  If the medium is impersonal (television) then the message too is impersonal.

This theory is objective in that everyone will act and feel the same no matter what the medium they are using provided that they are using the same medium.  Values are not involved because evidence is seen strictly through observation.

 

2.3.3    DEVELOPMENT OF THE THEORY

 

(Sparks, 2002) noted that: The development of technology itself follows a predictable, traceable path largely beyond cultural or political influence, and that technology in turn has “effects” on societies that are inherent, rather than socially conditioned or produced because that society organizes itself to support and further develop a technology once it has been introduced.

(Marshall, 1982) posited that ―societies have always been shaped more by nature of the   media   with   which   people   communicate   than   by   the   content   of   the communication‖.  In summary, Marshall was of the opinion that ―the medium is the message‖. This statement could be used as a peg for the reason why most youth surf the net or join the social networks. According to Wikipedia 2015: there is Hard and Soft Determinism, they further go saying that:          In    examining determinism Hard determinism can be contrasted with Soft determinism. A compatibilist says that it is possible  for free  will and  determinism  to  exist  in  the  world  together  while  an in compatibilist would say that they cannot and there must be one or the other. Those who support determinism can be further divided.

Hard  determinists would  view technology as  developing  independent  from  social concerns. They would say that technology creates a set of powerful forces acting to regulate our social activity and its meaning. According to this view of determinism we organize ourselves to meet the needs of technology and the outcome of this organization is beyond our control or we do not have the freedom to make a choice regarding the outcome (Autonomous Technology). The 20th century French philosopher and social theorist Jacques Ellul could be said to be a hard determinist and  proponent  of  autonomous  technique  (technology).  In  his  1954  work The Technological Society, Ellul essentially posits that technology, by virtue of its power

 

through efficiency, determines which social aspects are best suited for its own development through a process of natural selection. A social system’s values, morals, philosophy etc. that are most conducive to the advancement of technology allow that social system to enhance its power and spread at the expense of those social systems whose values, morals, philosophy etc. are less promoting of technology. Theodore J. Kaczynski (the  Unabomber)  can  be  essentially  thought  of  as  a  hard  determinist. According to Kaczynski, “objective” material factors in the human environment are the principle determining factors in the evolution of social systems. Whereas geography, climate, and other “natural” factors largely determined the parameters of social conditions for most of human history, technology has recently become the dominant  objective  factor  (largely  due  to  forces  unleashed  by  the  industrial revolution) and it has been the principal objective and determining factor.

 

Soft Determinism, as the name suggests, is a more passive view of the way technology interacts with socio-political situations. Soft determinists still subscribe to the fact that technology is the guiding force in our evolution, but would maintain that we have a chance to make decisions regarding the outcomes of a situation. This is not to say that free will exists but it is the possibility for us to roll the dice and see what the outcome is. A slightly different variant of soft determinism is the 1922 technology- driven  theory  of  social  change  proposed  by William  Fielding  Ogburn,  in  which society must adjust to the consequences of major inventions, but often does so only after a period of cultural lag.

 

2.3.4    BASIC ASSUMPTION OF THE THEORY

 

The basic assumptions of the theory are:

 

  1. All technology is communication, an extension of ourselves that allows us to reach further through time and/or space. The sacrifice we make for this enhancement is an unnoticed auto-amputation that combined with and Narcissistic desire and a bit of virtual  phantom limb  syndrome,  forces  us  to  both  marvel  at  our  feat  and simultaneous experience strong senses of detachment and, eventually, conflict. ―Every new technology necessitates a new war,‖ said McLuhan.
  2. These extensions mirror the human body: vehicles extend our feet, machines extend our hands, radio extends our voices, etc. Electricity began a new age, wherein humanity stopped simulating without and began replicating that which is within—the central nervous system. Computers are a great example of this, as they (much like our brains) take  basic  inputs  and, in  parallel  structuring,  create  complex  patterns  of understanding and interaction.
  3. All media  is,  to  some  degree,  ―hot‖  or  ―cool.‖  This  temperature-based metaphor applies to the level of audience/user interactivity with a given medium. Hot media are very ―hands off‖; people cannot touch them (they‘re hot!) and experiencing them makes a person more or less a passive audience member. Most television and film easily fall into this category. However, something like animation is a bit ―cooler‖ because  it  takes  imagination  to  bridge the  gap  between  abstract  lines  and  some version of reality… and, of course, a medium like video games is practically ice-cool as it approaches pure interactivity—between the user and the content, between the user and the medium and, in multiplayer games, between each user.
  4. No one can fully understand a medium until it is no longer than dominant medium, and is seen through the lens of the new dominant medium. It is only once a

 

new medium usurps the previous dominant medium that we are able to examine the older medium‘s patterns and effects. ―And it is only on those terms, standing aside from any structure or medium, that its principles and lines of force can be discerned.‖

 

CHAPTER THREE

 

METHODOLOGY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.1       INTRODUCTION

 

For the purpose of the study, survey research method was adopted. This is because the research study surveys the role of social media in creating awareness during the marriage the 2015 general election in Nigeria.

 

 

 

3.2       METHODOLOGY

 

The methodology for this study is survey. The study used Survey Method which is aimed at collecting samples from a population in order to examine the distribution incidence and interaction of the phenomenon in the study.

The study used survey research method, because it provide equal chance for the people to participate in the study and give out their opinion on a given issue of public interest. According to Onwukwe (2011), ―survey research is concerned with the collection of data for the purpose of describing and interpreting a certain condition, practice, beliefs, attitudes, etc.‖ The purpose is usually to describe systematically the facts, qualities or characteristics of a given population, events, or areas of interest concerning the problem under investigation.

Questionnaire was used to reach out to the population of study. The population of this

 

study is the mass communication department student‘s level 300-400.

 

3.3 POPULATION OF STUDY

 

The population of study consists of students in department of mass communication, Bayero University, Kano. In this study the population was stratified into two that is level 300 and 400 respectively.

The  population  as  given  by  their  various  level  coordinator  are  180  and  154 respectively  from  which    simple  random  sampling  techniques  was  adopted  by selecting 100 students from both levels to represent the others,

 

 

 

3.4       SAMPLE OF STUDY

 

Base on the accessibility, resources and time constraints the study selected samples of

 

100 students from the department of mass communication, Bayero University, Kano. The study adopted primary method of data collection questionnaire was administered to solicit the answer of whether Facebook and twitter were effectively used in creating awareness in the 2015 Nigerian general election, and out of total of 100 only 97 where recovered.

 

 

 

3.5       SAMPLE FRAME

 

Sampling  frame  is  set  of  information  used  to  identify  a  sample  population  for statistical treatment.

 

 

 

3.6       CONCLUSION

 

 

 

35

the study   gather it data using probability sampling techniques in which the questionnaire was accepted by the population and participate in the study with open arms.

 

CHAPTER FOUR

 

DATA PRESENTATION ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.1. INTRODUCTION

 

 

The instrument of questionnaire was used. The questionnaire was in two part comprising of 10 question part (questionn1-7) was on demographic variables of respondents, while the second part (question 8-10) was non the issue raised in the study and tends to answer the research question earlier.

 

 

 

 

4.2. DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION

 

 

 

 

TABLE ONE AGE DISTRIBUTION

 

S/N Variable Frequency Percentage
1 18-23 31 32%
2 24-30 46 47.4%
3 31-40 15 15.5%
4 41-50 5 5.1%
5 50+
Total 97 100%

 

 

 

The table above show that respondent between the ages 24-30 dominated the study, with average percentage of 47.4%. Those between the ages of 18 to 23 amounted an average of 32%. Those between ages 31 to 40 constitutes an average of 15.5% while those between the ages of 41 to 50 have 50%.

 

 

 

 

TABLE TWO: SEX DETERMINATION

 

S/N Variable Frequency Percentage
1 Male 70 72.2%
2 Female 27 27.8%
Total 97 100%

 

 

 

Table above show that male respondents out number their female counter part. The average percentage of male in the study was 72.2% while that of female was 27.8% average.

 

 

 

 

TABLE THREE: EDUCATIONAL LEVEL OF RESPONDENTS

SN Variables Frequency Percentage
1 Level 300 50 51.5%
2 Level 400 47 48.5%
Total 100%

 

 

 

The table indicate that the respondents from level 300 has an average percentage of

 

51.5% while those at level 400 has 48.5%

 

 

 

 

 

 

TABLE FOUR: LEVEL 300 RESPONDENTS

 

SN Variable Frequency Percentage
1 Male 35 70%
2 Female 15 30%
Total 50 100%

 

The percentage of study respondents of level 300 male is of 70% which dominate the female respondents. While that of female was 30%.

 

 

 

 

TABLE FIVE: LEVEL 400 RESPONDENTS

 

SN Variables Frequency Percentage
1 Male 35 70%
2 Female 15 30%
Total 50 100%

 

 

 

The table shows that level 400 male respondents has an average of 74.5%. While the female respondent had 25.5%.

 

 

 

 

TABLE SIX MARITAL STATUS

 

SN Variables Frequency Percentage
1 Single 72 74.2%
2 Married 25 25.8%
Total 97 100%

 

 

 

The table six that the single respondents outnumber the married counterpart with average percentage of 74.2%, while the married with 25.8% average.

 

TABLE SEVEN: OCCUPATIONAL STATUS

 

SN Variables Frequency Percentage
1 Entrepreneur 7 7.2%
2 Full time employee 25 25.8%
3 Student/intend 65 67%
Total 97 100%

Table seven indicates that an average of 67% of the study respondents were students.

 

While full time employee constitute 25.8% and entrepreneurs amount 7.2% of the study respondents.

 

TABLE SEVEN: SOCIAL MEDIA PLAT FORM

 

S N Variables Frequency Percentage
1 Facebook 54 55.1%
2 Twitter 2 2.6%
3 Both 38 39%
4 Non 3 3.1%
Total 97 100%

 

 

 

The above table indicate that an average of 55% of the respondents use Facebook. Fallow by those that use both Facebook and twitter which constitute of average of

39.2%. While those respondents that use neither were 3.1%, and those respondents that use only twitter are 2.6%.

 

TABLE NINE: HAVE YOU EVER VOTED?

 

SN Variables Frequency Percentage
1 Yes 85 87%
2 No 12 12.4%
Total 97 100%

 

Table nine above show that those respondents that said yes (voted) dominate with

 

87.6%. While those that said no had 12.4% of the respondents.

 

 

TABLE  TEN:  I  MAY  BE  INFLUENCED  TO  VOTE  FOR  A  PARTICULAR CANDIDATE BASE ON THE CONTENT I READ ON TWITTER.

 

SN Variables Frequency Percentage
1 Strongly agree 6 6.2%
2 Agree 25 25.8%
3 Neutral 20 20.6%
4 Disagree 35 36%
5 Strongly disagree 11 11.3%
6 Total 97 100%

 

 

 

The table above show  that an average of 36.1% of the respondents under study disagree. Those that agree with the concept are 25.8%. While an average of 20.6% were neutral respondents strongly disagree. Meanwhile 6.2% of the respondents strongly agree.

 

TABLE ELEVEN:  I MIGHT BE INFLUENCE TO VOTE FOR A PARTICULAR CANDIDATE BASE ON THE CONTENT I READ ON FACEBOOK.

 

SN Variables Frequency Percentage
1 Strongly agree 7 7.2%
2 Agree 33 34.1%
3 Neutral 15 15.5%
4 Disagree 32 32.9%
5 Strongly disagree 10 10.3%
Total 97 100%

The table indicate that 34.1% of the respondents understudy agree. Those with an

 

average percentage of 32.9% disagree. The neutral among the respondents where

 

15.5% while the respondents that strongly disagree constitute of 7.2% of the population. And those that agree occupies an average of 7.2%.

 

TABLE TWELVE: THE CONTENT ON OFFICIAL FACEBOOK AND TWITTER ACCOUNTS OF POLITICIANS AND PARTIES IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT THE GENERAL PUBLIC IS SAYING ABOUT THEM.

 

SN Variables Frequency Percentage
1 Strongly agree 3 3.1%
2 Agree 17 17.5%
3 Nuetral 25 25.8%
4 Disagree 36 37.1%
5 Strongly disagree 16 16.5%
Total 97 100%

 

 

 

The above table show that an average of 37.1% of the study respondents disagree. Followed by the neutral respondents with 25.8%. Those that agree constitute 17.5%. While 16.5% of the respondents strongly disagree, and 3.1% of the study respondents strongly agree.

 

 

 

 

4.3. CONCLUSION

 

 

The study was conducted to assess between the extent to which Facebook and twitter are used as a tool for creating awareness in the 2015 general election in Nigeria.

 

The study show that social media, especially Facebook and twitter were used during the 2015 Nigerian general election. It is however shows that, where’s many uses the medium to campaigns for their candidates others uses the channel to spread rumors.

 

CHAPTER FIVE

 

SUMMARY CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.1       INTRODUCTION

 

The chapter here is to summaries the main focus of the study and brings out all the important and significant issues related to Facebook and twitter, and the impact the make the other bodies, i.e. NGOs, government and individual observers.

While the study will conclude how the social media Facebook and twitter utilize the information super highway (the internet) to both parties i.e. citizens, NGOs, political parties, to propagate the importance of citizen participation to democratic process. Lastly, an important recommendation where drawn to exposes the avenue needed to be enriched more, and the lapses realize so far.

 

 

 

5.2       SUMMARY

 

The study try to explain and describe as well analyze the way and maneuver in which the social media create awareness in the 2015 Nigerian general election is the Facebook and twitter and to explain the extent to which the Facebook and twitter inform, educate, and enlighten people during the election period for the propose filing the knowledge gap to the researcher as well as exposes the result and findings to the body of knowledge and general public,

The study review the related works done by scholars from 2011 general election to the

 

2015 general election, also look to various angle of related topic across the globe from

 

Barack Obama to the Middle East revolution.

 

Related theory were discuss that technological determinisms and user gratification theory was aim toward explain the study.

Finally, the study finds out the role of social media in creating awareness during 2015

 

Nigeria general elections positive and encouraging.

 

 

 

 

5.3       CONCLUSION

 

Facebook and Twitter serve as tool of engaging and interacting with the public, organizing and mobilizing supporters, gathering voter, campaigns data, reaching the youth vote, how to vote, the use of card readers and others electoral devices.

While the use of new media in 2015 general elections clearly provides important advantages to candidates, citizens and the public sphere also benefit by having an easy method of acquiring diverse information on the election, a platform for organizing and gaining resources for meaningful participation in democracy, and a means to engage in public dialogue and interact with candidates. However, citizens should remain conscious of candidates‘ underlying motive for using Facebook and Twitter: to ultimately gain enough votes in order to win the presidential election.

Facebook and Twitter have impacted on political communication and has provided a whole effective means for political mobilization. This study was conducted to assess the extent to which Facebook and Twitter fared as a tool of creating awareness in

2015 General Election in Nigeria. The study was guided by five objectives. Findings showed that Facebook and twitter played a major role in mobilizing the support of the electorate. It was however found that mobilization by Facebook and Twitter was limited to the people who had internet access or smart phones with internet applications.

 

This study contends that the significant use of social media during the 2015 general elections in Nigeria was a result of three key factors, namely:

1) The tendency of election stakeholders in Nigeria to follow the global trends in the use social media as a political communication tool.

2) The tendency of Nigerian politicians and political parties to tap into the opportunities offered by social media to reach  and engage their constituents and voters, and

3) The tendency to use of social media tools to improve the efficiency of election observation. The study argues that the four key stakeholders in the Nigerian electoral process (the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), politicians/political parties, the electorate, and Civil Society Organizations) made extensive use of social media during the 2015 elections. Each of these stakeholders used the social media to achieve a number of interrelated objectives. INEC used social media basically to broadcast messages on the elections and receive feedbacks from the public on their experience with the process. Politicians/political parties used the social media to reach out to the voters and canvass for support. The electorates used social media to report their experiences and receive election related information, while the CSOs used the social media to mobilize and educate the electorate as well as to cover and report their observation of the electoral process.

 

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Based on the challenges and opportunities of the use of social media particularly

 

Facebook and Twitter in 2015 general elections, we recommend as follows:

 

  1. The benefits of the use of social media outweigh its risks, as such the civil society should plan to use and equally encourage other election stakeholders to use social media in the subsequent elections in Nigeria.
  2. INEC should establish guidelines for the use of social media as a political communication tool in Nigeria. Modalities should be established to systematically verify information reported by citizen observers through the social media.
  3. INEC should establish a social media tracking center to monitor, collate, and interpret trends and reports during elections.
  4. Development partners should support domestic observer groups to utilize social media as a means of improving election observation in Nigeria.
  5. Credibility of social media should be encouraged because presently, most political stories obtained on  the web  are mere gossips  and  rumors  which  most  times  are baseless. A little bit of caution should be exhibited by those who post comments on social media sites. This is because; some of these comments are derogatory and appalling.

 

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