SOCIAL MEDIA AS TOOLS FOR POLITICAL EDUCATION: A STUDY OF FACEBOOK AND TWITTER IN THE 2015 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
The study basically examined the influence of social media as tools for political education: a study of Facebook and Twitter in the 2015 Presidential election. The emergency and rising of social media otherwise known as citizen media in this digital era have revolutionalised the socio- economic and particularly political development of Nigeria. It offers platform for political debates, political campaign and political mobilization. Survey research method was adopted in which data were collected among Bingham University students using questionnaire. Four hundred (400) questionnaires were distributed, out of which, three hundred and sixty (360) copies were retrieved and analysed. Findings show that many of the respondents maintained that, they participated in the 2015 election while they also search and participated in political debate and discussions on social media before, during and after the election with many served as voters during the 2015 elections. In the same vein, social networking usage during the election was very high for the first time in Nigeria political history, no wonder many submitted that their participation in the election was as a result of the online discussion platform such as facebook and twitters. Similarly, lots of respondents were busy reading and commenting on political matters during the 2015 electioneering period, they also, optimistic that the future of social media in election is very bright in Nigeria and some of the element that need to correct in future use of social media for elections include but not limited to “name calling” and “posting of unverified information or result during election”. It is recommended that social media should be improved to enhance better public mobilization, sensitization and true democracy in Nigeria through citizen sensitization programmes.