Survey Overview

Basic Demographics

There were a few basic questions students needed to complete before continuing with the survey.  According to the survey results, approximately 43% of students who filled out our survey were seniors. About 61% of all of the students who completed the surveys were females, and 84% of the students were white.

Our Thoughts and Expectations

The Global SMAC predicted that the majority of students would feel that they are more involved in politics because of social media.  However, the SMAC also saw the opportunity for students to convince themselves that they were in fact being engaged in politics while never leaving their house to act on their statements online.  We predicted that their support would mostly be passive; joining groups posting and re posting online saying they are active but in the end never pulling the trigger and voting in the election. Before the survey we stated that students would agree that social media is used for networking and communicating, but would admit that they have received news through it and do belong to social and political groups

The Raw Data

We had asked students a few questions on social media and citizenship and democracy. The first question was: “ How frequently are you on social media sites?”  48.3% of students reported they were on these sites 0-2 hours a day.

When asked which source of information they go to, 53.2% of students stated that they receive information about politics from the television, whereas 52% percent of students receive this information from online news sites.   32.7% rarely use Facebook to get any information about politics, and 65% of students never use Twitter to get his information.

The third question was a statement : “I use social media to actively voice my opinions about things going on in the world…”  42.4% stated they “somewhat agree”, while 15.6% stated they “strongly agree”, and 17.8% percent stated they “strongly disagree.”

The fourth question was whether or not students belong to a political group, news group, or fan page on Facebook.  The answer?  63.7% of students stated they do not use Facebook for that, but 8.8% belong to a bunch of them.  The last question, “Did you vote in the 2008 presidential election?” 59.1% of students reported “yes”.

Conclusion

The results from the questions both debunked and backed up our predictions. The question asking where students get their information from came as a surprise. The majority of students get political news from the television networks as apposed to online sources, including social media. This question falls in line with the data received from the question regarding how many hours students spend on social media. However, The Global SMAC believes the data obtained from the questions might not be an accurate picture of reality due a negative social stigma attached to information being obtained from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, causing people to choose to answer that they obtain the majority of their information from TV, which has long since been established by society as a reliable medium.

Lastly, the results of how many students actually voted in the election is not surprising. While the most students use social media to voice their opinions and ideas about what should be done in their nation/state only a small majority of people actually acted and voted in the presidential election.

Drawn on research done outside the survey it was found that only 10% of students asked actually voted in the midterm elections, while the majority of the participants knew of the obscure candidates that received less than 5% of the popular vote, because of the amount of attention they received via social media sites like Youtube and Facebook.

In all the data creates a picture of current trends in society regarding social media as a viable news assembly service. People have agreed that they have followed links to news from social media sites, and were brought to major media outlets like CNN and FOX News. Our prediction for the future; social media will become part of people’s routine to gather information. It will be a hosting site that will be the gateway to information.

By: Asra Arif & Eric Ivanov

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About globalsmac
Democracy and Citizenship

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