Library Dissertation Showcase

Regarding the June 2017 general election, what were the attitudes towards uncivil SNS content and did it affect Opinion Leaders. With a direct look at future social media political effectiveness.

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2018

Within the last decade, social media has shown a large increase in active users, providing a platform for, and altering the way, information is diffused into online communities. Modern politics is promptly losing the interest of these users, young adults, which has consequently led to lower voting turnouts and a disengaged demographic. The UK general election in 2017, saw a vast degree of uncivility between the main rivalry parties on social media sites which may have impacted the user’s motivations for social media as an entertainment or informative news source.

Therefore, the main objective of the research was to explore Opinion Leaders attitudes towards online uncivil political content, produced during the campaign period, and the level of effectiveness attributed to it. Effectiveness was in terms of engaging the online demographic, regarding its entertaining and informative attributes. Furthermore, the research identifies whether social media may impact future voting intentions.

In conjunction with a critical review of relevant theories and literature, a web-based questionnaire was distributed, with a response from 91 social media users. Each were identified as being affiliated to a party alongside their self-identification of level of perceived opinion leadership.

It was found that informative uncivil content was more effective to individuals over entertaining content. However, it was inconclusive as to whether being an opinion leader or not would affect this result. Overall, social media, whether uncivil or informative, will not likely be a key motivator in influencing young adults future voting intentions, but could be used more efficiently to engage users in politics.

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