Publisher: Plateau State University, Bokkos

Political Public Relations and Social Media: An Analysis of The Trends and Perceptions of Political Engagements On Social Media In The 2015 Electioneering Campaigns In Benue and Plateau States

Ashiekpe, Aondowase James, Ph.d., Tine, Vaungwa Nyihar, Ph.d.
KEYWORDS: Political Public Relations, Social Media, Electioneering Campaigns

ABSTRACT:

Social media in recent time have emerged as the most common source of information and communication in society, with profound impact on political public relations and political discourse. Consequently, social media was the most marked feature of political public relations and political engagement during the 2015 electioneering campaigns in Nigeria. The paper analyzes trends and perceptions of social media utilization and political public relations engagements during the 2015 electioneering campaigns in Benue and Plateau States. Anchored on Social Information Processing Theory (SIP), survey was employed as research design. Findings show that social media was profoundly employed as a political public relations tool of engagement in the 2015 electioneering campaigns. Findings indicate further that social media enabled political actors to bypass mass-media filters and engage the electorates, while allowing the electorates to participate and encourage other to participate. Findings also show that posting links to political stories or articles for others to read; posting own thoughts or comments on political or social issues; encouraging other people to take action on a political or social issue amongst others as the trends of political engagements on social media during the 2015 electioneering campaigns. Further findings show that trends affect and influence the perception of social media users, and online social information processing influenced offline political decision-making. Based on the findings, the study concludes that social media has the potential and has revolutionized both the political process and political public relations practice, setting new rules that make the citizens drivers of the new order



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