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Professor: Social media doesn't convince young adults to vote

By Cleon Wall  |  Posted Oct 14th, 2010 @ 9:05pm



 

OREM -- In the 2008 election, President Barack Obama used several social media outlets to his advantage.

Following the president's win, Utah Valley University communications professor Matt Kushin young voters were swayed to vote thanks to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Turns out Kushin was wrong. A recently-released study he conducted found young voters went to some pretty traditional websites.

"[They went to] your news website, your newspaper website and the candidate's website even more so that newspapers and television, and even more so than social media," Kushin says.

He believes that's because people were still getting comfortable with social media websites back in 2008, especially during an election campaign.

"The Internet took a lot of election cycles before people could rely on it for information," Kushin says.

Still, Kushin says candidates shouldn't give up social media in upcoming elections. Attitudes will change, he says.

"We have yet to see what it will do in 2010 and in future elections; and I think using and getting used to these media formats will help candidates reach their constituents," he says.

Kushin and a colleague plan on doing a follow-up study after the 2010 election to see if attitudes change. They also want to find out if social media has some negative political variables.

E-mail: cwall@ksl.com

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