Social Media and Political Participation in Nigeria during the 2011 General Elections: The Lapses and the Lessons


The use of social media in politics has continued to grow in recent times. Since Barack Obama broke the world record in the history of social media use for political purpose during the 2008 US presidential elections, many nations and politicians across the globe have continued to embrace the platform to mobilise their citizens and candidates towards active participation in the political process. Nigeria had the first real test of social media use for political participation during the 2011general elections. This study examines the experiment of social media use for political participation in the country during the 2011 general elections. The study was anchored on the uses and gratifications theory. The survey research method was used. Findings show that whereas many used the technology to make vital input in the political discourse, others used them to attack opponents, spread false rumours, hate and inciting messages which were believed to have contributed in the violence and tensions witnessed before, during and after the elections in many parts of the country. The work recommends urgent review of the various media laws to address the peculiar technicalities involved in monitoring and moderating the use of different social media platforms.


Unique Article ID: GJAHSS-122
Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 29-46 (Download PDF)

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