Degree

Master of Mass Communication (MMC)

Department

LSU School of Mass Communication

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

This thesis takes a broad look how citizens use social media to foster political discussion, enhance political knowledge and engage in political participation in the United States. In this study, democracy is broken down into three empirically measurable components: political discussion, knowledge and participation. To begin, I provide an in-­‐depth review of past research examining the impact social media has on each element of democracy. In addition, I analyze data collected from a novel social media panel of 3,811 Twitter users by researchers from Louisiana State University (Davis et. al, 2017). From this, I measure the impact that Facebook and Twitter have had on political discussion, knowledge and participation. I found that Twitter users use both Twitter and Facebook in ways that foster political discussion and enhance political knowledge. The results indicates that Twitter users are in fact using social media to share political news, further enhancing these platforms’ democratic potential.

Date

8-14-2017

Committee Chair

Porter, Lance