Essay on Social Media: A Powerful Tool for Democracy in the 21st Century

Published: 2023-10-13
Essay on Social Media: A Powerful Tool for Democracy in the 21st Century
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Government Democracy Social media
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1736 words
15 min read


Democracy is a form of government in which individuals being governed have the freedom and authority to determine their parliamentary government. Social media is the leading communication platform in the world today due to the global advance in technology. These channels created to play a crucial role in new circulation, and social media has the power to control the message regarding political dynamics, corruption, values, and political conflict dynamics, among others.

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Currently, social media use is one of the most common online activity. Statistics show that more than 3.6 billion are estimated to be using the platforms worldwide; the percentage is predicted to increase drastically in the coming years. The analysis shows that it is a growing brand with a significant effect on the global economy (Knobloch-Westerwick, 2020). However, the role of media outlets in the world is assessed against democracy. Political democracy is a complicated concept that can be manipulated into a variety of contexts without forming contradicting scenarios or breaking laws regarding democratic rights.

In political theories, democracy can be a normative framework manifesting in the conversations and various types of democracy and their own underpinnings. Focusing on computational social science research, media experts explain that media mobilizations bring turbulence to modern politics (Knobloch-Westerwick, 2020). The research findings on E-democracy show that social media channels are the major actors in existing politics, political practice, and behavior (Kreiss, 2015).

The media develops change by allowing tiny intended acts of changes on social media such as status viewing, sharing, liking, and following social participation in support of a certain political cause. This exposure to biased information has made the majority of people susceptible to computational propaganda and political psychology that is often referred to as "selective exposure."

The selective exposure theory is a concept that relies on the assumption that the target audience will continue to pursue a particular idea or information even after the person has already taken aside. The position of that particular person will be influenced by reinforced factors that affect one's decision making. Discussed is the selective exposure theory in regards to social media impact on a democracy crisis.

The Selective Exposure Theory

The diverse topic is covered by exploring how the internet regulates access to legislative information by applying biased algorithms that get voters stuck on intended echo chambers unknowingly. The data is mainly focused on political turbulence, political participation and democracy, social media, and democracy in crisis and in-depth exploration of the selective exposure theory.

The concept entails the psychological practice used in media podiums, individuals, or parties' tendency to bias information into reinforcing ones’ own agenda. The process involves favoring info that underpins their pre-existing beliefs while still managing to avoid contradicting information.

The theory discloses that most voters in a political system prefer the supportive of discrepant messages. The reason because messages portrayed in this manner tend to boost the confidence of the majority of the people by feeling, thinking, or behaving in an acceptable way (Knobloch-Westerwick, 2020). Dominating political influencers tend to manipulate voters into believing that they have made the right decisions about information quality in the past; hence there is no reason to consider radical shifts in political affiliation.

The voters mostly tended to strictly but voluntarily expose themselves to specific media messages that positively impacts their preferred candidate during election campaigns. The people mostly pay attention to political content that supports their pre-existing beliefs. However, it is not every day that the voters will change their preferred political parties or candidate because of a piece of radically new information that challenges their preference that appears on a social platform.

Schemata explanations represent cognitive representations that emphasize on taking shortcuts to depend on current or prior information (Knobloch-Westerwick, 2020). The concept is applied to develop new political relationships because this information has a specific role. People rely on selective exposure because they are afraid of the cognitive dissonance of introduction to fresh candidates and new information.

The social media network is based on content collapse. This is where large audiences are warped into a singularity, making it difficult for one to adjust their decisions were it on face-to-face interaction. Online networks can lead to shaky decision making for users who are fed unforeseen social anecdotes; the majority of persons will either deliberately choose articles or visit websites that supply them with that specific content of interest.

It is ideal for conquering the fact that social media certainly exploits selective exposure via social endorsements rather than merely applying simple partisan frames. The users are more likely to pay attention to a particular piece of information because it comes from a credible media platform, generated by a specific political party, or because their favorite media outlet has signaled the significance of that content.

The application of democratic theory in media and communication is under-theorized and rarely practiced by individuals, political parties, and government agencies. In media organizations like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other major platforms, there is ongoing social discrimination in political practices. The followers of winning candidates are bound to despite those of losing candidates, with the internet being the number one source of information, then social networks will play a significant role in political aspirations throughout the world.

This diversity of political news sources due to personal differences has created a political democracy deficit. The global network consists of unrestricted sub-networks acting as primary sources of information to people of different classes. If any of these dominating sources are poisoned with false or biased news reports, there will be much success of the intended political agenda than in a comprehensive source of information that empowers citizens with the freedom of choice.

With the idea of democracy around media outlets being centrally figured in plenty of discussions today, there are different views on the scope of major media companies' involvement with broader debates regarding democracy practice in both social and political theories. The democratic approach is a narrow but specific form of a socio-political theory that has the potential to develop into a modern form of democracy, giving voters there political freedom of choice back.

Rather than social media platforms allowing people to cut connections due to political opinions, the theory could act to fill the gap. The act will result in the collapse of policymakers that promote misinformed publications or non-evidential news. Nevertheless, several government agencies have placed quality control measures in place by making a number of tweaks on algorithms that limit the spread of junk news on social media networks. In the 21st century, international debates have developed over ways in which search engines, online news, and fake news can influence public opinions. Such actions represent the foundation of the democratic theory that has been under-theorized for an extended period (Kreiss, 2015).

The internet, through social media, should allow voters to access all information about candidates equally in the future. Other government operations like amendments, referendum votes, and implementation of new policies should all get similar attention in all social media platforms, enabling a more informed decision. The internet should not undermine the mediation and gatekeeping role of traditional institutions where candidates and voters can communicate directly. Systems that personalize information through algorithms will certainly trap consumers in a filter bubble.

In addition to selective exposure, various other theories are involved in the socio-political aspect in regards to the internet and society. This linkage of these two aspects to freedom of choice known as E-democracy, and it mainly entails the application of information and communication technology in processes of political governance (Kreiss, 2015).

One of the significant theories that play a critical role in E-democracy is the normative democratic that focuses on various issues. First, it sketches different approach systems to explain the importance of democracy is morally important. It further explores the question of what is expected reasonably from large democratic communities. This part covers the most substantial part of the theory as it explores a broad dynamic of issues regarding reasonable expectations from citizens (Karppinen, 2013). It also includes various accounts symbolizing equality in political representation. Finally, the concept constitutes issues dealing with the authority limit of democratic institutions and the conceptions of those limits (Karppinen, 2013).

Another major concept in E-democracy is the empirical theory of democracy; these deal with online investigations of the facts of politics. The theory applies a criterion of truth and proof that is standard according to society's morals. The vision of this terminology has not yet yielded effective results, and it is reasonable because of their neutral ground that has been overlooked by media bias (Skinner, 1973).

Another form of democracy is the deliberative democracy, which is practiced in media and communication channels. The concept is popular due to its interest in elective affinity public debates performed on online platforms. This practice of democratic rights puts the media in a privileged position as a central democratic institution (Dahlberg et al, 2011).

Participatory democracy in regards to E-democracy emphasizes the broad participation of voters towards the direction of political systems. However, the etymological foundations of democracy "Greek Demos and Kratos" imply that all forms of democracy are, in fact, participatory, or at least they should be. The reason is that the concept advocates more on people's participation and political representation than a traditional representative form of democracy (Waldner, 2015).


Democracy being a civil right, the paper is addressed to citizens of the nation and every individual on a global scale. The purpose is to inform them of the ongoing democracy crisis on social media platforms. By consuming biased information on these outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and many others, people tend to get denied their democratic rights due to the news they get exposed to daily.

Social media in a crisis is a diverse topic; the discussion entails all the major attributes regarding the subject. After analyzing the paper, it shows evidence of the interrelation between social media and democracy on political ground. As emphasized, the main internet streams are prone to manipulating political data into a one-sided agenda rather than balancing the information to leave the power of choice to the voters (Kreiss, 2015). With such non-ethical practices, the users are likely to expand the information they are exposed to and appoint the predetermined candidates, issues, and events. Being the leading source of information, hence it is essential to evaluate the impact these online media outlets play in the political democratic landscape.

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