A comparative analysis of the use of social media by "People's Democratic Party and All Progressive Congress" during the 2011 political election campaign in Nigeria.
Ever since President Obama won the American presidential elections in 2008, credited to his innovative use of social media, the use of social media by politicians all over the world has experienced an exponential growth. The Nigerian presidential elections in 2011 reflected such innovative trends with the use of social media by incumbent President Jonathan Goodluck announcing his candidacy through Facebook. Such a charismatic gesture by a political candidate created euphoria of political excitement, especially among the youths of Nigeria, to read from their President on Facebook. For this reason the research was aimed at comparing how the two leading political parties People’s Democratic Party and All Progressive Congress along with their presidential candidate’s use of Facebook during the 2011. To realise the objective of the study, the researcher used a qualitative research approach within an interpretivist paradigm. Data for the study was collected through interviews with those who took part in the presidential elections; twenty participants took part in the study. Additional data were collected from the official Facebook page of the two political parties selected for the study. The theoretical framework that guided the study was the social network theory, through the theory the computer mediated communication was understood as a form of social networking which was computer dependent. The finding of the study revealed that Nigerians, especially the youths, were actively engaged in the 2011 presidential election through the use of Facebook as the leading social media in Nigeria. It was also revealed that both political parties took advantage of the potentials of Facebook for political purposes. Nevertheless, the PDP is credited for initiating the use of Facebook for political purpose in Nigeria. This party made earlier and more extensive use of Facebook to show their political achievement in the form of health, educational and infrastructural developments. The PDP also used graphics for political propaganda and to attract more voters. In contrast, the APC used their Facebook page to discredit the political achievements of the PDP. This was done through the use of graphics mainly illustrating issues of corruption and division within the party. The use of language by both political party was English and was suggested that this was perhaps due to the fact that only the educated youths participated on Facebook political discussions. The researcher recommended that a similar study be carried out for the upcoming presidential elections in 2015 and should be done during the elections proper as the exact opinions of the voter and political parties would capture as the elections proceeded. Also a study should be done for each political party respectively without comparing one against the other, as this will provide an in-depth use of Facebook by these parties.
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