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Shepherd professor researches social media and the election, study to be published

By Staff | Nov 16, 2012

Dr. Matthew J. Kushin, assistant professor of communications at Shepherd University, will have a study he conducted with a colleague about the role social media played in the 2008 presidential election in the decision-making process among young adults published in a future edition of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (JCMC).

“More Harm Than Good? Online Media Use and Political Disaffection Among College Students in the 2008 Election” builds on an earlier study in which the pair found some indication that social media might not have been as important in helping young people in their political decision-making process as originally thought.

“We were interested in, while social media might not have had a positive role, did it have a negative role?” Kushin said. “Is there a negative element to social media?”

He said he wanted to know specifically whether people who used social media were more cynical, skeptical and apathetic about politics.

Kushin and his research partners are gathering data about the 2012 election for future studies.

“I’m sure people are much more savvy with social media, and so it is possible that social media is having a verypositive role in this election and getting people engaged,” he said.

Kushin teaches three classes at the university: Communication and New Media, Fundamentals of New Media and Social Media and Politics.

The JCMC is a web-based, peer-reviewed scholarly journal focusing on social science research on computer-mediated communication via the Internet and wireless technologies.