Effects of first time voters’ political social media use on electoral behaviour - A smartphone-based measurement of media exposure to political information in an election campaign

Jakob Ohme, Claes de Vreese, Camilla Jensen, Erik Albæk

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalPaperResearch

Abstract

The relationship between the citizens, the media, and political actors in democracies has changed over the last decade, particularly in response to changes in the media environment, which are amplified by digital communication. Nowadays it’s nothing new that online media play a main role in citizens’ political media diet. Especially social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube offer an up-to-date stream of information, easy to tune in and with personalized content citizens (or at least their network) are interested in. A recent study by PEW (Mitchell, Gottfried & Matsa, 2015) showed that 61 % of citizens between 18-33 years old name ‘Facebook’ when being asked where they have received information about politics in the last week; for 34-49 year Facebook is still the main source for political information this age group. But while we watch the digitalization undermining formerly distinct channels’ monopole to political information (e.g. TV, print, radio), the effects of this new exposure situation are rather unclear. Following the Habermasian ideal (Habermas, 1991), political information is essential for a functioning democracy, but if the access and use of this information strongly shifts to digital platforms, what will this do to the political system? This paper will try to address this question by focusing on a special group in the process of political socialization, namely first time voters, being about to enter the political system by casting their first ballot in the Danish national election 2015. It will examine three key aspects that are crucial in this regard: First, by using a smartphone-based media & voting diary, it will suggest a method to gain a more profound insight in first time voters news diet, helping to determine the importance certain media types have for young citizens in an election campaign. Second, it will concentrate on their social media use to gain not only gain information about the platform first time voters use, but digging deeper to distinguish between types of content their social media exposure to political information consists of. Third, it will determine what effect the exposure to political information on different media channels can have on electoral participation and their first vote in a national election.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2. Jun 2015
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2. Jun 2015
EventDigital Media, Power, and Democracy in Election Campaigns - Washington , United States
Duration: 2. Jul 20153. Jul 2015

Conference

ConferenceDigital Media, Power, and Democracy in Election Campaigns
CountryUnited States
CityWashington
Period02/07/201503/07/2015

    Fingerprint

Cite this

Ohme, J., de Vreese, C., Jensen, C., & Albæk, E. (2015). Effects of first time voters’ political social media use on electoral behaviour - A smartphone-based measurement of media exposure to political information in an election campaign. Paper presented at Digital Media, Power, and Democracy in Election Campaigns, Washington , United States.