Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Today, the idea of social media is radically different from the media of a decade ago. While a decade ago the Internet was considered new media, our society now turns to Facebook, Twitter, and blogs as sources of information. In the United States during election cycles, the use of social media by presidential candidates has become a way for many voters to find out about candidates. As a result, presidential candidates have had to adapt their campaign strategies to work with these media in a way that will effectively target these audiences. This study examines whether campaigns that are more “social media savvy” will ultimately garner more votes, specifically from those aged 18-24. By analyzing social media tactics of the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections and surveying voters in this age range, I ultimately found that there was no relationship between social media use and young voter participation or likelihood of voting for Democratic candidates. However, there was a relationship between social media usage and likelihood of voting for Republican candidates: when social media was used, participants were less likely to vote for the Republican candidate than when no social media use was present.