Monday April 22, 2019
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Social Media Shaping Young ‘Digital Natives’

Not only is the Internet helping first-time voters know about their leaders, it is also helping them understand how and where to start from

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Nearly 1.5 crore young “digital natives”, set to cast their first vote in the seven-phase election starting from April 11, are busy scouting through candidates’ social media profiles to check on their backgrounds and their contribution towards the society.

The digitally-savvy young voters aged 18-19, armed with cheap data plans on their smartphones, are participating in online debates on issues like women safety, unemployment, economic stress and national security, expressing their viewpoints on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as observing reactions from politicians on their handles and Pages.

“My vote decision will be based on how the candidates have behaved in the public eye till date.

“Their criminal and corruption records, educational backgrounds and occupational experiences are things that I am interested to know about,” said an excited Ankita Mishra, an 18-year old advertising student from Pune who will cast her vote for the first time.

“Educational background of the candidate is the key. If the minimum requirement to get a decent job in India is at least a post-graduate degree and additional work experience, then why should the job of being the leader be given out so easily?” she asked.

As elections inch closer, discussed about the contesting candidates have intensified on social media and other online public forums.

“I do keep myself updated with the popular opinion. I also regularly check the polls and campaigns,” Mishra added.

Just as social media companies have come up with transparency rules for political ads, they should have similar features for influencers so that people can distinguish between commercial space and personal space. Pixabay

Vishesh Jain, a 19-year-old who just returned to India after completing his higher education in the UK and now lives in Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, said the youth have to cast their ballot to elect best leaders.

“I have grown up listening to the catch-phrase ‘one vote can make the difference’. My decision will be based on Indian politicians’ presence on social media, especially Twitter,” said Jain.

“I am reading and expressing my opinion on social media handles, keeping tabs on trending election-related hashtags and polls and actively engaging in discussions and polls online,” he added.

Also Read- Social Media Giant Facebook Under Lens for ‘Covering up’ Data Scandal

Not only is the Internet helping first-time voters know about their leaders, it is also helping them understand how and where to start from.

Arjun Parashar, an 18-year old journalism student from Mumbai, said he is trying not to be affected by fake news spreading on social media.

“Even though social networking platforms give us an overview of the candidates, my voting choice is personal and I will wait till the end to decide who I should finally choose,” Parashar told IANS. (IANS)

Next Story

Collective Attention Span Among People Decreases Rapidly as of 24/7 News Availability

"As a next step, it would be interesting to look into how this affects individuals, since the observed developments may have negative implications for an individual's ability to evaluate the information they consume," said researchers. 

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"Since the available amount of attention remains more or less the same, the result is that people are more rapidly made aware of something happening and lose interest more quickly. However, the study does not address attention span on the level of the individual person," Lehmann noted. Pixabay

People are losing their collective attention span rapidly owing to the ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO), staying up-to-date on social media and breaking news coming at them 24/7 via various platforms, a team of European scientists has warned.

The study with first empirical evidence in the journal Nature Communications has found that our collective attention span is indeed narrowing and that this effect occurs not only on social media but also across diverse domains, including books, web searches and movie popularity.

FOMO is social anxiety characterised by “a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing”.

“It seems the allocated attention in our collective minds has a certain size, but the cultural items competing for that attention have become densely packed. “This would support the claim that it has indeed become difficult to stay up-to-date on the news cycle, for example,” said Professor Sune Lehmann from Technical University of Denmark (DTU).

social media
The study with first empirical evidence in the journal Nature Communications has found that our collective attention span is indeed narrowing and that this effect occurs not only on social media but also across diverse domains, including books, web searches and movie popularity. Pixabay

To reach this conclusion, the scientists studied Twitter data from 2013 to 2016, books from Google Books going back 100 years, movie ticket sales going back 40 years, and citations of scientific publications from the last 25 years.

In addition, they gathered data from Google Trends (2010-2018), Reddit (2010-2015) and Wikipedia (2012-2017).

When looking into the global daily top 50 hashtags on Twitter, scientists found that peaks became increasingly steep and frequent. In 2013, a hashtag stayed in the top 50 for around 17.5 hours and gradually decreased to 11.9 hours in 2016.

The trend is mirrored in other domains, online and offline as well.

“Since the available amount of attention remains more or less the same, the result is that people are more rapidly made aware of something happening and lose interest more quickly. However, the study does not address attention span on the level of the individual person,” Lehmann noted.

twitter
To reach this conclusion, the scientists studied Twitter data from 2013 to 2016, books from Google Books going back 100 years, movie ticket sales going back 40 years, and citations of scientific publications from the last 25 years. 
Pixabay

The study was conducted by a team of European scientists from Technische Universitat Berlin, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, University College Cork and DTU.

Also Read: New Survey Indicates, Indians Most Worry About Terrorism, Unemployment And Corruption

“As a next step, it would be interesting to look into how this affects individuals, since the observed developments may have negative implications for an individual’s ability to evaluate the information they consume,” said researchers.

Acceleration increases, for example, the pressure on journalists’ ability to keep up with an ever-changing news landscape. “We hope more research in this direction will inform the way we design new communication systems,” the team said. (IANS)