تبیین تاثیر رسانه های اجتماعی بر مشارکت سیاسی (مطالعه موردی استان مازندران)

نوع مقاله: مقاله پژوهشی

نویسندگان

1 دانشیار روابط بین الملل، گروه علوم سیاسی، دانشگاه اصفهان، اصفهان

2 دانشجوی دوره دکتری روابط بین الملل دانشگاه اصفهان، اصفهان

چکیده

پیشرفت­های اخیر فناوری­های اطلاعاتی و ارتباطاتی موجب شده تا شیوه­های نوینی برای کسب اطلاعات و ارتباطات سیاسی از طریق نسل دوم فناوری­های وب بوجود آید. بدلیل محدودیت ایجاد محافل عمومی بحث و گفتگو و روند کاهنده علاقه مردم به رسانه­های سنتی نظیر روزنامه و غیره، نقش رسانه های اجتماعی مبتنی بر وب2 همواره رو به افزایش بوده است. هدف پژوهش حاضر مطالعه اثرگذاری فناوری های وب2 بر مشارکت سیاسی رای دهندگان در انتخابات پیشین می­باشد. پژوهش حاضر به صورت پیمایشی و با استفاده از پرسشنامه طراحی شده و با حجم نمونه 384 نفر در بین رای دهندگان بالای 18 سال استان مازندران انجام شده­است. این پژوهش بدنبال پاسخگویی به این پرسش بوده آیا بین استفاده از رسانه های اجتماعی و مشارکت سیاسی رابطه معناداری وجود دارد؟ برای آزمون فرضیه­ها از روش تحلیل همبستگی پیرسون و رگرسیون خطی استفاده شد. طبق نتایج بدست آمده از تحلیل پرسشنامه؛ بین استفاده خبری کاربران با میزان مشارکت سیاسی رابطه معنادار و مثبتی وجود دارد. همچنین بین مدت زمان استفاده، عضویت و فعالیت تفریحی کاربران از فناوری های وب2 با میزان مشارکت سیاسی رابطه معناداری وجود ندارد.

کلیدواژه‌ها


عنوان مقاله [English]

Social Media and its Effects on Political Participation; a Case Study of Political Participation in the Province of Mazandaran

نویسندگان [English]

  • ali omidi 1
  • saeedeh moradifar 2
1 Associate Professor of International Relations, Department of Political Science, University of Isfahan, Isfahan
2 Ph.D student of International Relations, University of Isfahan, Isfahan
چکیده [English]

 
Extended Abstract
Introduction and statement of the problem: As part of contemporary electoral processes, the Internet-related media by providing uncensored and massive various information, has enabled citizens to influence on electoral activities such as campaigning for candidates and motivating the hesitant people in voting as well as elections polarization.  The Internet has automatically led to appearing of societies that are more conscious by increasing the availability of information.  In these societies, internet-related media is a dominant source of political information.  Unlike traditional media, the Internet provides users to access extensive information as well as its dissemination.  Moreover, users can freely send information to other users without any extra cost.  However, the availability of computers, smartphones, and other electronic devices make it easier to have access to the Internet and the dissemination of information.
Recent developments of information and communication technologies have led to new facilities to obtain political information and communication through the second generation of web technologies.  Web 2.0 in general, especially social media, has created an opportunity for users to comment out and share content, photos, videos and making interactions through user-oriented applications.  These technologies with their unique capability in recent years have more prominence in political domains, especially general elections in Iran.
In recent decades, internet infrastructure and mobile phones have made significant progress across Iran.  The mobile phone SIM card has almost doubled than Iran's population (over 156 million), with more than 85 million active SIM cards and more than 100 million smartphones.  The progress in Internet infrastructure and mobile networks have contributed to an increase in the active presence of around 45 million Iranian users in social media.  Here, social media based on Web 2.0 technologies are included in categories such as WhatsApp, Telegrams, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.  Users in this research are defined as respondents who have been active at least in one of the types of social media in the Web 2.0.
Theory and Method
Theoretically, the paper focuses on the mobilization effect of social media.  In contrast to the mobilization approach, there is media substitution theory.  Based on the latter approach, we conclude that if people spend much time in cyberspace so to substitute it with the old media, then their political participation will diminish.  Thus, the Internet has had a damaging impact on political interactions, and that is because these technologies are used mainly for entertainment.  As a result, given to hobby function of social media, citizens may spend less time on civic or political activities, joining civil NGOs, visiting family and friend, etc. 
Nonetheless, the mobilization theory explains the positive impact of the Internet and social media on political activities, and generally on the political participation of its users.  Indeed, the Internet, with cheaper and easy access to political information, has led to an increase in the level of political information users, which in turn has a positive influence on establishing and constructing political identities, which in turn lead to activities that are more political.  The Internet also created an opportunity to express opinions by unknown or marginalized people as well, which in turn provides a feeling of security and comfort to such users.
Online political talks, especially in social media, have been able to create an appropriate role for exchange of information, construction of social networks and shaping of the political identity of users.  Social media may facilitate marginalized users to involve in the political sphere more actively.  Thus, people through these technologies enter the public space from private space.  These technologies also provide an opportunity for people to activate public sphere furthermore.  The user finds an opportunity for political manifestation and expression of their beliefs in a comfortable environment; thus, political dialogue is formed and users are encouraged to participate in politics.  Users will be able to join a similar group on the web and have political discussions with their like-minded people and, thereby increase their awareness of political issues.  Thus, user activity in social media increases the number of opinions, free flow of information and freedom of expression.  This is possible to encourage them to enter the political discourse, which in turn mobilizes them for political activities.
Methodology:
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of Web2.0 technology on voter participation in the general elections in Mazandaran province (Iran).  The current research is conducted in the form of a survey and with the use of the questionnaire.  The sample group includes the number of 384 above 18 years' old among the voters, in the Mazandaran province.  The questionnaire was designed based on a question template proposed by Yamamoto et al. (2013), Vosoughi, and Hashemi (2004).  The data required for analyzing and testing the hypothesis through distributed questionnaires were obtained in Mazandaran province and, the results of the research were extracted through coding in SPSS software.
Findings and discussion: 
After studying the descriptive statistics of the sample, the authors have sought to see whether there is a significant correlation between the use of social media and participation in voting.  Therefore, the user's activity in this research is divided into two types of entertainment and gathering or sharing political news. Thus, four hypotheses have been proposed based on the conceptual framework of the study.  The findings indelicate:
1-    There is a significant correlation between using social media as a news source with political activities.
2-    There is a significant correlation between using social media as an entertainment apparatus and the level of political participation.
3-    There is a significant correlation between the duration uses of social media with political participation.
4-    There is a significant correlation between the periods of subscription in social media with political participation.
The results of the analysis of the research findings are based on the Pearson correlation and regression; there is a positive and meaningful correlation between the news users of social media with political participation.  Indeed, the increased use of social media by citizens of Mazandaran province has increased their political participation.  However, no significant correlation is observed among the level of political participation, and the amount of the periods of subscription in social media, the duration uses of social media or the use of social media for entertainment purposes.
Therefore, according to the results of the research, news users of social media has been are more involved in political activities, especially in voting seasons.  People can have the opportunity to engage in social media with every type of opinion, which result in more involvement that is political.  It can be stated that information transfer in social media has caused extensive discussion among users about various political issues.  This media by providing the users the ability to read/write information and different kind of interactions between individuals and diverse groups has changed the nature of political discourse in Iran and Mazandaran province.  Therefore, because of actual barriers in the real world that create problems for socio-political activities in Iran, the virtual space has become an arena for dialogue and information exchange.  This, in turn, has reduced the costs of political activities and increased the political mobilization effect of social media.
 
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