ABSTRACT: The study investigated the influence of social media particularly Facebook as tool for political participation in Delta State. The emergency and proliferation of social media otherwise known as citizen media has reshaped political education and mobilization in Nigeria. It offers platform for political debates, cyber activism, political campaign and political mobilization. A survey research method was used while questionnaire was used to elicit responses from respondents.The data were analyzed in Descriptive Statistics ( frequency and perception). The major finding of the study was that Facebook were used to a high expectations extent for political participation, mobilization, election results sharing and other political activities. It was recommended that, social media can be improved to enhance better public mobilization, sensitization and true democracy in Nigeria through citizen sensitization programmes, registration that involve national identity card.
Keyword: ICT, Social Media, Blogs, Electorate, General Election and INEC.
Technology advancements in this century have increased and enhanced effective communication in our culture today, particularly among university students. Social network development is a cyber-revolution that altered the path of history.
According to Olayinka (2014), the rapid advancement of technology is igniting an information revolution. The constraints of the analog world are being swept away by new media, including digital broadcasting, social media, BlackBerry Message, mobile applications, video games, blogging, smartphones, mini-laptops, tablet computers, and the internet, which is also weakening the hold of government-owned platforms of information monopoly.
According to Omojuwa (2015), a place that used to be all about power brokers and media moguls has gotten so deregulated that you might say it is currently the most free place in Nigeria.
The myriad tools of social media are that space, amplifying the voices of ordinary Nigerians and turning them into remarkable voices by bringing them to homes, workplaces, and locations where most of them would have probably never gone otherwise. It began as a playground for primarily young unemployed people. It is now the scene of what is likely the most contested election in the history of Nigeria. How precisely are social media influencing Nigerian politics, and how have the key players adapted to it?
Traditional mass media’s relationship with its audience is evolving away from mass media’s content monopoly. Information and communication technology offers a quick, insightful, intelligent, and participatory forum for debate on a variety of topics, from politics to the economy to social issues to academic and cultural concerns to personal ones (Omojuwa, 2015).
Now that the internet has been invented, it is obvious that everyone is a journalist, just as Gutenberg made everyone a printer when he created the printing press and Marconi made many people broadcasters when he created the radio. Instead of being media consumers or passive users, citizen journalism has made it possible for everyone to be a media creator, owner, and performer.
The discussion, sharing, and commenting on political happenings in the nation are now frequent among citizens/the electorate, political parties, political candidates, political activists, and others, particularly when trying to bolster support for a certain political party or candidate in an election. In Nigerian political history, the 2015 presidential election saw the biggest use of social media. In actuality, young people were not excluded since social media is helping them become more politically conscious and connected.
Additionally, since November 2014, political topics and manifestos have become contentious subjects on social media. It is important to note that the social media users at the time (GEJ and GMB or PDP and APC) were split into two groups based on the tone of their postings, the establishment of groups, messages, the sharing of links, and other factors. It is against this backdrop that the research examine the influence of Facebook as a tool for political participation in Delta state, Nigeria.
- What is the level of social media usage in Delta state in the 2015 presidential general election?
- Does social network site usage enhance the level of awareness, education and political mobilization of electorate in Delta state?
- To examine the level of social medial usage in Delta State in the 2015 presidential general election.
- To ascertain whether social network site usage enhance the level of awareness, education and political mobilization of electorate in delta state in the 2015 general election.