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New Role of Cell Phone in Politics

New Role of Cell Phone in Politics
With the expansion of cell phones into so many aspects of our lives, it's hardly surprising that cell phones are playing a growing role in the political sphere. A huge majority of 88% of American voters own cell phones, 27% of whom have used their devices for politics-related purposes. While it is clear that the relationship between cell phones and politics has grown to be significant, it is less immediately evident what, exactly, the new role of cell phones in politics is.

One major component of the role of mobile devices in politics is their effect on the spread of information. Cell phones, especially smart phones, afford their users faster, easier, and more frequent access to information, making them less likely to miss updates on campaigns and political events and issues. The convenient and quick access that smart phones afford their users may also encourage smart phone-owning voters to be more active in following political news than they would if they did not use smart phones.

Interestingly, a 2012 study reports that 35% of smart phone-owning voters use have used their devices to check whether political information they had received was correct. This figure suggests that the widespread use of smart phones among voters serves as an agent of the critical assessment of political information. After all, checking facts on a smart phone is often easier, faster, and more convenient than waiting to access the Internet from a computer, or another news outlet. It is very possible that the wide ownership of cell phones among voters is encouraging people to check information, a change that can affect political conversations as well as the roles of propaganda and hearsay in politics.

The widespread use of cell phones also facilitates conversation surrounding politics. By providing their users with a means of communicating with friends and family quickly, easily, and almost constantly, cell phones allow political conversations to occur more frequently and spontaneously in places and at times they otherwise might not. This expansion of political conversation holds the potential to bring more ideas to discussions on politics by bringing more people into them more often, and to change the way constituents relate to and talk about politics.

Smart phones in particular have impacted not only interpersonal discussions on politics, but political conversation in a broader sense. By making social media more accessible to their users, smart phones encourage their owners to use these media more often. Since politics have permeated social media, this consequence of owning a smart phone makes people more likely not only to see online political content via their phones, but to participate in more public discussions by means such as leaving comments on posts (an action that almost one in five smart phone-owning voters have taken). This change affords many constituents greater opportunities for advocacy and expands the national, public conversation on political issues.

The ubiquity of cell phones has popularized still more means of involving people in politics. While calls to the landline on behalf of a candidate are nothing new, cell phones have modernized and expanded campaign outreach both by offering campaigns text messaging and social media as means of outreach to constituents and increasing the volume of outreach through these means. The expansion of this element of politics has the potential to influence voters' opinions, and may even afford them another outlet to become politically involved.

Though their role in politics is still growing, cell phones appear to be a rising agent of democracy. By expanding access and communication, the widespread use of mobile devices among voters allows for the greater involvement of the people in politics.

About the Author -
NotePage, Inc. develops SMS, alphanumeric paging and wireless messaging software solutions. http://www.notepage.net


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