Political Engagement and Political Efficacy Through Social ‘Friendships’ on Facebook – Impact of Presidential Campaigns Through Social Networking Sites in Taiwan
Master of Science
Department or Program
Mass Communication and Media Arts
Online citizenship (Scheufele & Nisbet, 2002) and online behavior is being debated as new technologies and Social Networking Sites (SNS) are altering and enhancing traditional political campaign practices. Across the world, technologically driven campaigns are being used aggressively for increasing political socialization of voters, encouraging online blogs, online political support groups, political efficacy, political engagement and voting behavior (Bentivegna, 2006; Bimber & Davis, 2003; Chang, 2003; Chadwick, 2009; Davis, 1999; Karan, Gimeno & Tandoc, 2009; Willnat, 2009; Yamamoto, 2006).
New democracies (First election in 1996) like Taiwan’s have already jumped the bandwagon. The country’s political campaigns are not only following the pattern of Western countries, but are extensively using the SNS for political engagement, campaigning and participation. This study through a theoretical background on social networks, explores the use and impact of SNS in Taiwan, particularly Facebook. How are political parties building ‘political friendships’ through SNS and gaining political trust that is gradually declining in most countries of the world? How are these strategies looked upon by citizens- to what extent are they prepared to become friends with politicians, and allow them to intrude upon their personal space, and what impact does this have on their voting behavior? Through an case study of campaign strategies and an online web survey of over 371 Taiwanese, the study find some interesting data on a new tactical area of using Social Networking Sites in political friendships in election studies.