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The Networks of Politics: To What Extent Does Social Media Help Garner Political Support?

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/pops.12478

The growth of social media platforms and internet accessibility has transformed social and political scenes worldwide. Indeed, the likes of Facebook and Twitter provide a means to exchange information that is essential to the coordination of protest activities – this includes new about the protests themselves, turnout, and more. It has also been significant in garnering media attention. To what extent, however, does the big data generated by social media usage influence not only turnouts at social movements but also new support? Do media platforms such as Twitter merely spread information or do they provide a platform for information cascades to unfold and change people’s opinions?

In their article, Jost et. Al bring to light the fact that “structural characteristics of online social networks, which may differ as a function of political ideology, have important implications for information exposure and the success or failure of organizational efforts”. Indeed, if you take into consideration the ways in which the likes of Twitter provide platforms for people to be exposed to new political figures and movements, one can recognize that information cascades are more likely to take place due to the nature of the platform. To some extent, tactics to influence certain people can be put in place in order to garner political success for certain political figures.

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