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Assessing the role of online social media in the South African political sphere

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dc.contributor.advisor Prof. Nathalie Hyde-Clarke en_US
dc.contributor.author Steenkamp, Marika Louise
dc.date.accessioned 2012-06-04T09:16:26Z
dc.date.available 2012-06-04T09:16:26Z
dc.date.issued 2012-06-04
dc.date.submitted 2012-03
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/4783
dc.description M.A. en_US
dc.description.abstract The use of the Internet and New Media is becoming increasingly relevant for 21st century politics, not only as a means of political campaigning but also as a platform used by the public to engage in political discussion, debate and opinion formation. As the field of study is relatively new, there has been much argument regarding the opportunities that New Media, such as the Social Media network Facebook, holds for political use. However, not enough research has been done to scrutinise the outcomes of truly utilising the platform. Furthermore, not enough research concerning the use of Social Media in the South African political sphere has been done. Thus, this study concentrates on how the public and the political parties are using Facebook. The research questions examine the nature of (a) political party (ANC and DA) and (b) public participation on the respective Facebook sites. It also enquires as to what benefits and challenges Social Media such as Facebook offer to political parties in South Africa. The study relies on a qualitative methodological orientation. Firstly, content analysis by means of thematic analysis was applied to all posts present on the Facebook pages of the ANC and the DA during the timeframe of 14-21 June 2010. The overall themes were World Cup 2010 and Youth Day, and their emergent sub-themes were explored in this context. Secondly, in-depth interviews were conducted with representatives from each political party who dealt with the Social Media output and monitoring of the party. It would appear that political parties are not capitalising on the full range of Social Media offerings and not promoting two-way communication. Instead they are merely using it as a monitoring tool or as a way to disseminate information. However, the research shows that the members of the public are utilising the Facebook site(s) to engage in discussion of a political nature as well as using the platform to connect with and reach individuals in new ways. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Facebook (Electronic resource) - Political aspects en_US
dc.subject Online social networks - Political aspects en_US
dc.subject Communication in politics - Political aspects
dc.subject Social media - Politcal aspects
dc.title Assessing the role of online social media in the South African political sphere en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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