Author

Andrew Abad

Date Approved

2013

Date Posted

1-17-2014

Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Dennis Patrick

Abstract

With the emergence of social media activity as a daily phenomenon for most Americans, online users are becoming greater consumers of political information, and are choosing to share that information through social media outlets. A virtual "watercooler effect" is created, in the form of online political debates and arguments. This study examines the connection between viewers of political comedy programmings (television shows like The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report) and political discussion on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Using a survey of EMU undergraduate students that measures political efficacy and media habits, in addition to an experiment comparing political comedy to traditional news coverage, this presentation will re-define the perception of younger voters as non-participants in the political system and generate discussion of new mediums of political participation in 21st century politics.

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