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Social Media And Political Socialization In The 21st Century: The Nigerian Case. - Education - Nairaland

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Social Media And Political Socialization In The 21st Century: The Nigerian Case. by sorzy1(m): 1:41am On Jan 28, 2018
SOCIAL MEDIA AND POLITICAL SOCIALIZATION IN THE 21ST CENTURY: THE NIGERIAN CASE. By Ishaya, Solomon. Phone number: 08095266843. Email address: ishayasolomonzuru@gmail.com


Socialization has been in existence from time immemorial, as elderly people in every society have always been in the business of transmitting the values, ideas, and beliefs of the society to the younger generation in other to ensure continuity. Socialization has been defined as a process by which values, ideas and beliefs are inculcated in the minds of members of society from a very tender age continually. That is to say socialization never ends, it is a life long process that starts when a child is born to when he or she dies. Many institutions in the society have been charged with the responsibility of socialization, example of such agents of socialization are the family units, peer groups, mass media, religious organization, political party e.t.c

Political socialization simply put is the transmission of political values, beliefs, and ideas from one generation to another. The advent of social media has made the transmission of information much more easier. With social media information will be available at the fingertips of members of the society. This work basically looks at how social media can be utilized as a viable tool for political socialization in Nigeria.

Social media according to Nnanyelugo and Nwafor (2013:33) simply connotes those internet-based tools and services that allow users to interact with each other, create content, disseminate, and unravel information online. In other words the social media is a platform powered by internet connection for interaction that provides avenue for people to connect and communicate virtually, share ideas, opinions, experiences, contacts, knowledge, expertise, values, beliefs, jobs and career tips. Social media is the new phase of media that has evolved in the 21st century which focuses on social networking which permits users to share information with much level of ease and freedom as well as publish their views on issues that affect them in all ramifications be it political, economic, or social on the world wide web. The collaborative or interactive nature of these tools according to Chatora, (2012, cited in Nnanyelugo and Nwafor 2013:33) is the distinct feature that makes them "social". Mayfield, (2008, cited in Nnayelugo and Nwafor, 2013:33) describes social media as "online platforms that promote participation, openness, conversation and connectedness". They are online content created by people using highly accesible and scalable publishing technologies to distribute information across geographical boundaries, providing interaction among people (Adibe, Odoemelam and Orji, 2012, cited in Nnanyelugo and Nwafor, 2013:33).

Constanides and Fountain, (2008) opined that social media is a system that supports the creation of informal users' network facilitating the flow of ideas and knowledge by allowing the effective generation and dissemination, sharing, and editing of informational content. Social media technologies according to Ajayi and Adesote, (2045:49) provides flexibility, adaptability, usability and customizability. Kaplan and Haenlein, (2010, cited in Ajayi and Adesote, 2015:49) see social media as internet-based application built on the technological and ideological foundations of web 2.0. Cohen, (2012:12, cided in Ajayi and Adesote 2015:49) further stated that social media can equally be called a strategy and an outlet for broadcasting.
Dewig, (2012:1) opines that the term "social media" reffers to wide range of internet-based and mobilize services that allow users to participate in online exchanges, contribute user created content, or joint online communities. The kind of internet services commonly associated with social media include blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, twitter, facebook, google, youtube, whatsapp and lots more.

From the above conceptualizations of the term social media, we can say that the term has been subjected to various definitions by various scholars who see the term from different points of view but we can still say that all these definitions have certain common ground upon which they stand. They all believe that social media is internet-based, networking based and links people from different parts of the world, it does not respect boundaries. On its platform people interact with one another, engage themselves in personal or group discussions, share ideas, beliefs, values, share their opinions and feelings on issues being discussed, this makes it social. People produce and consume information on the platform of social media. Social media platforms are virtually-oriented, this connotes that with social media you must not be in physical contact with people to engage them in live conversations. Social media further signifies an advancement in technology, where people have gone beyond the stage of being passive participant as in the case with television or radio, with feedbacks generated almost immediately.
Re: Social Media And Political Socialization In The 21st Century: The Nigerian Case. by sorzy1(m): 1:43am On Jan 28, 2018

Wikipedia defines political socialization is a learning process that begins very early and continues throughout one's lifetime. It is through political socialization that people acquire their perceptions and feelings about their political environment. Political socialization is the study of the developmental processes by which people of all ages and adolescents acquire political cogniting attitudes and behaviors. It refers to learning process by which norms and behavior acceptable to a well running political system are transmitted from one generation to another.

According to Owen, (2008:1) political socialization is the process by which citizenship orientations are transmitted. She further opined that it is conditioned by shifts in the political, social, and economic contexts at the community, nation-state, and international levels. This is to say that political socialization is a process that involves the transfer of political orientations, values, norms, and beliefs from one generation to the other. It is a lifelong process is further influenced by changes in the political, economic, and socio-cultural spheres at the local and global levels. In the same vane Almond and Verba, (1963, cited in Owen, 2008:2) defines political socialization as "broadly, the transmission of political culture to new generations of citizens in a given society". Sapiro, (2004 cited in Owen, 2008:2) also opines that political socialization is the means by which politics and other political societies inculcate appropriate norms and practices in citizens, residents and members.
This definition according to Owen, (2008) is a macro or political system level which tends to focus on how polities transmit values, attitudes, beliefs, opinions and behavior to the public. In line with the above Beck (1977, cited in Owen, 2008:4 ) states that polities convey established patterns of thought and actions, laws and norms and traditions and folkways, through agencies such as the family, educational system, peer groups, mass media, political institutions, community organizations, religious organizations and the military.
At the micro level political socialization according to Sapiro (2004:19 cited in Owen 2008:4) constitutes "the patterns and processes by which indivisuals engage in political development and learning, constructing their particular relationships to the political context in which they live". Political socialization therefore enables citizens to know about their political system and its mode of operation, it also enables them to understand their position and roles expected of them to play in the polity.


Having looked at some of the definitions of "social media" and "political socialization" i can thus say that political socialization is an end and of the means through which this end (political socialization) can be achieved is through the social media. Political socialization as we have seen is a life long process which is ever changing, In other words political socialization which can also be reffered to as political education is a never ending process that goes on in the life of an indivisual as long as he or she is still breathing, although the content of what is being transmitted or taught, that is, the idea, values or belief, may change overtime as a result of some shifts that may occur in the society's life.
Social media has affected virtually every aspect of human life that you can think of in the 21st century, as such i am of the opinion that political socialization is not an exception, it has not been able to resist the impact of social media. Political socialization starts from an early stage firstly at the family level. Thus, the family unit is seen as a very important agent of political socialization, thir is because the first people that a child comes in contact with are members of his or her family. As the child grows up he or she is enrolled in school, the school system then starts contributing its own quota towards the child's political socialization. In Nigeria, at the primary school level subjects like civic education, social studies, current affairs e.t.c are being taught as part of pupils's curicullum, at the secondary school level subjects like Government and Civic Education are also being taught, at the tertiary level compulsory courses like Nigeria's people and culture are being offered al in a bid to ensure that the political values, norms, beliefs and standards are inculcated in the minds of young Nigerians
Re: Social Media And Political Socialization In The 21st Century: The Nigerian Case. by sorzy1(m): 1:45am On Jan 28, 2018
In the present 21st century the social media platforms have also been used as an independent agent of political socialization or used in assisting other agents of political socialization such as family, schools, peers, mass media, political parties e.t.c in the process of political socialization. Social media makes it very easy for people to be politically educated in the present era that we are in. Political parties, government agencies and parastatals have all understood the power of social media in educating people as such they have created their own website address and social media platforms to carryout their activity of information dissemination in a bid to enlighten the public about the political ideas, beliefs and values of the country.
Most Nigerian youths are members of one social media platform or the other, and they religiously and diligently follow the activities on the social media platform which they are registered to as such they get most of the information they consume from the social media. If you should ask an average Nigerian youth the source of most of the news or information he or she hears or knows about the country, the reply is mostly "i saw/read it online". Social media platforms like Facebook have been used and are still being used to pass political information and educate members of the public. Most Nigerians don't concentrate on watching news on the television and they also find it very tedious and expensive to purchase newspapers and magazines from vendors to read as such they see their social media handles as sources of political information.
Nnanyelugo & Nwafor, (2013:7), started that the new technology played an unprecedented role in the 2011 Nigerian General Elections. They further said that INEC officials had in early March 2011 welcomed the assistance of civil society volunteers with its Facebook and twitter accounts as well as a new media situation room which received feedback from the public and later began to provide real time information and answered constituent questions. Nigerian politicians have also utilized various social media platforms to facilitate their campaigns. It has been claimed by many that the victory of APC and General Muhammamadu Buhari in the 2015 election can to an extent be attributed to the social media prowess of the party, the party ensured a very solid presence on social media platform which they effectively used in their campaign. Now my point is this, if such success can be attained by effectively utilizing social media then the same tactics can also be utilized in educating and transmitting political ideas and values of the society to members of the public. INEC for example can do its voters' education online via social media platforms even before it is done on the day of election by the presiding officers of the various polling stations on the day of the election. They should also use it to communicate to prospective voters and voters before, during, and after the election.

Adibe, Odoemelam and Orji, (2012 cited in Nnanyelugo & Nwafor 2013:cool, observed that "a 33 years old IT consultant and an activist named Gbenga and his team had designed a smart phone application called Revoda which allows voters to instantly upload reports of delayed voting materials and intimidating gangs at their local poling stations to their database: a daily summary was then sent to Nigerian election officials and western observers as well as posted on their Revoda website". The point is this, similar synergy and/or efforts should be directed towards the development and distribution of mobile applications and softwares that will enable an average Nigerian to get basic knowledge of their political values, ideas, and information and at the same time ask questions. Such inventions should be sponsored/supported and maintained by the government as it goes a long way in socializing the citizens politically. Thus, for effective political socialization to take place communication of some sort must be established and maintained, social media provides such platform for continual communication between members of the societies as well as between citizens and political parties. Social media is an indispensable tool of sensitization and conscientization in advancing political engagement and mobilization.

Using social media as an agent of political socialization is an idea that is flourishing in the western world but it is bound to face some challenges in Africa as a whole and Nigeria in particular. In other words using social media as a tool for political socialization in Nigeria also has its own challenges.
Re: Social Media And Political Socialization In The 21st Century: The Nigerian Case. by sorzy1(m): 1:47am On Jan 28, 2018
Ajayi and Adesote, (2015:cool stated that social media is a volatile platform to trend political issues as anonymity of sources makes it a vulnerable instrument for perpetuating fraudulent acts and spreading wrong values, ideas and beliefs about a political system thereby inculcating in people the wrong political ideas and values. The multiplicity of ideas on social media which comes about as a result of freedom that users have to generate content of their own, breeds confusion in the minds of most people.
Another challenge is the literacy level of most Nigerians. For to be able to fully enjoy the benefits that comes with social media he or she must be literate to some extent. Also social media in Nigeria is still mainly used in the urban areas, hardly can you find people in the rural area enjoying the fruits of social media, this may not be because they are not literate but it may be because of the absence of internet service in the rural areas. Another challenge that affects the use of social media as an agent of political socialization is the pessimistic view that some Nigerians have about it. They tend to focus on the negative/bad side of social media while at the same time negating its positive side.


Social media can be used as a viable tool in the process of political socialization to aide other agents of political socialization in Nigeria. The average Nigerian nowadays is more attached to his or her phone than to television set or newspapers as such political parties, government agencies such as the National Orientation Agency, as well as media outlets that are charged with the responsibility of educating the Nigerian masses about Nigeria's political values and beliefs should take advantage of social media platform to effectively discharge their duties. They should focus more on creating and managing social media accounts on different social media platforms where political values and norms of Nigeria will be discussed , where citizens wont be passive participants but rather active and responsive participants. The present administration of Rtd. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, is really making strides in the use of social media in government, such should be replicated at the state and local government levels, ministries, departments and parastatals of government. Nigerians also learn to look at the good side of social media, they should be optimistic in that regards.


Owen, D. (2008). Political socialization in the twenty first century: Recommendations for researchers. Paper presented at "The future of civic education in the 21st century" conference.

Ajayi, A.I. and Adesote, S.A. (2015). The new social media and consolidation of democracy in Nigeria: uses, potentials and challenges. Journal of Good Governance and sustainable developent in Africa. 2 (4), p. 47-48.

Dewig, M. (2010). Social media: an introduction. Canada, library of parliament.

Constantinides, E. and Fountain, S. (2008). Web 2.0: conceptual foundation and marketing issues. Journal of Direct Data and Digital Marketing Practice. 9, p. 231-244.

Nnanyelugo, O. and Nwafor, K.A. (2013). Social media and political participation in Nigeria during the 2011 General Elections: lapses and the lessons. Global Journal of Arts Humanities and Social Science. 1 (3), p. 29-46.

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