The Influence of Social Media on Political Consciousness: Presidential Election of The Gambia 2016

Yaya B. Baldeh


The increasing role the media continue to play in the overall societal development arena is immense. In recent times, not only the mainstream media is helping in the consolidation and upholding role in amplifying vibrant democracy, but even the newest evolving new media is doing a far greater job in enlightening the people. This, of course, is incredibly attributed to new sophistication media tools. These networking sites include Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube, the list goes on. These platforms are adding further spice and also influencing crucial decisions in the area of politics, electioneering as well as societal change phases. The power of social media, particularly the visibility aspect is aiding voters to make crucial decisions when it comes to voting and assessing relevant information relating to policy. Countless people rely on the new media in search of daily news feeds, following online debates on domestic politics amongst other useful issues. Perhaps, this is needed now more than ever before in the current political climate and increasing political consciousness across Sub-Saharan countries like The Gambia. As the study of a single country, The Gambia, the findings go further to ascertain and analyse truly ways in which social media have contributed to democratic transition and the gains it might have ushered in for the country’s political scene.This research undertaking evaluates the ever increasing significant role played by social media in The Gambia’s 2016 Presidential Election. It further examines the influence of social media in relation to the political consciousness on the part of Gambian voters in the December 1, 2016 Presidential polls. If anything, it helped bring an end to the 22-year dictatorial regime overnight in the West African nation.Further, a quantitative method was applied in the research to establish the findings. The study methodology employed to analyse the collected data using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). This was done to ascertain whether social media had any meaningful impact on the mind-sets of ordinary citizens in the passage of crucial decision in the election. Again, as a result of increasing trend of social media usage for information consumption in the public space, the curiosity of this study interrogates this question, can it translate into massive voter turnout in elections as a prime case of The Gambia?

Keywords: Social Media; Election; Political Consciousness; Social Movement; The Gambia

DOI: 10.7176/NMMC/84-04

Publication date:October 31st 2019

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3267 ISSN (Online)2224-3275

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