ASU students turn to social media for political discussion

Whether you're Republican or Democrat — you're using social media to talk politics.

For ASU students, the presence of politics doesn’t stop on the evening news or inside clubs on University grounds. In a world of retweets and 140-character comments, social media is playing a strong role in both sides of the political discussion.

ASU professor David Wells a political science instructor at ASU’s School of Politics and Global Studies, said the role of social media is involved in every candidates campaign.

“Students are going to see posts about politics because there is a byproduct of other people forwarding or sharing politicians information,” Wells said. “Most students are going to receive information from activists, the information will come from a retweet or a repost on any social media sites.”

Wells said activists follow a specific candidate or party of their liking and simply repost the information for the masses to see, it then becomes up to the masses to dissect the information received.

Social media activists can be heard throughout the University. Speckled across sites such as Facebook there are a slew of politically-geared groups. For example, ASU College Republicans, not related to the on-campus club, is a small Facebook group full of students sharing information.

Political science junior Lawrence Baker, an ASU College Republicans member, is one of the many students knighted as Wells’ definition of a social media activist.

“I use social media to play devil's advocate in political discussion to better understand how people think." Baker said. “It’s getting people involved in these debates and that has an educational value in itself.”

Although Baker and other Republicans use social media for their political discussions, ASU Young Democrats, an ASU club, also holds similar social media tactics to better educate its peers.

ASU Young Democrats President Austin Marshall uses social media to provide political insight to students of ASU.

“We love to let students know what is going on in the political world,” Marshall said. “We wouldn’t be doing our job correctly if we didn’t have our page up on social media.”

These clubs, which for a long time have fostered conversations between students, are beginning to host a discussion and reach out to off-campus populations via social media.

Like ASU College Republicans, ASU Young Democrats has a following to educate.

“If we don’t post on our site for a week or so, people start to ask what is going on," Marshall said.

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