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Analyzing the Role of YouTube as a Platform for Political Conversation: A Case Study of Same-Sex Marriage Referendums in North Carolina and Washington

Marriage Referendums in North Carolina and Washington Pooja Joshi 1 * , Xiangming Fang 2 ,

Pooja Joshi 1* , Xiangming Fang 2 , Tejas Desai 3

Raleigh Charter High School 1 ; Department of Biostatistics, East Carolina University 2 ; Department of Nephrology and Hypertension, East Carolina University 3

of Nephrology and Hypertension, East Carolina University 3 INTRODUCTION Social media has grown into a global
INTRODUCTION Social media has grown into a global phenomenon in the 21 st century: •
INTRODUCTION
Social media has grown into a global phenomenon
in the 21 st century:
• 74% of online American adults use social networking websites
• 66% of all social media users report having engaged in some
sort of civic or political activity online
• 62% of Reddit users, 52% of Twitter users, and 47% of
Facebook users use the sites respectively as a news source
In the age of social media, YouTube has emerged as
an upcoming platform for political conversation,
especially within the younger demographic:
• YouTube livestreamed both the presidential and vice presidential
debates for the first time via the YouTube Elections Hub during
the 2012 election.
• Barack Obama’s victory speech, posted to YouTube by the New
York Times, garnered almost 10 million views in 2012
• The Obama Administration turned to YouTube to spread the
message of signing up for the Affordable Care Act in early 2014.
• YouTube has been used at a limited level
at the state and regional level, but has still
had a significant effect on regional topics
like same-sex marriage.
• We investigated the role of YouTube as a
platform for conversation and news
regarding two same-sex marriage
referendums: North Carolina Amendment
1 and Washington Referendum 74.
CASE STUDY REFERENDA
North Carolina Amendment 1:
AN ACT TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION TO
PROVIDE THAT MARRIAGE BETWEEN ONE
MAN AND ONE WOMAN IS THE ONLY
DOMESTIC LEGAL UNION THAT SHALL BE
VALID OR RECOGNIZED IN THIS STATE
Washington Referendum 74:
AN ACT RELATING TO PROVIDING EQUAL
PROTECTION FOR ALL FAMILIES IN
WASHINGTON BY CREATING EQUALITY IN
CIVIL MARRIAGE AND CHANGING THE
DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP LAWS, WHILE
PROTECTING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.

RESEARCH POSTER PRESENTATION DESIGN © 2012

www.PosterPresentations.com

MATERIALS & METHODS To find videos pertaining to the two pieces of legislation we studied,
MATERIALS & METHODS
To find videos pertaining to the two pieces of
legislation we studied, we used the search terms:
• north carolina amendment 1
• referendum 74
We then applied the filters:
• “Short duration” to limit our findings to videos
less than 4 minutes long
• “Video” to eliminate any selections of music
• “High definition” in order to ensure playability
Then, we recorded the publicly available data for
each video:
• Title
• URL
• Sentiment (Positive, Negative, Neutral, or
Unknown as determined by the researcher from
the title and description)
• Videos advocating “For” the given
measure were marked “Positive”
• Videos advocating “Against” the given
measure were marked “Negative”
• If the video did not advocate for either
side but simply gave information
concerning the measure, it was marked
“Neutral”
• If the opinion expressed by the video
was unintelligible, it was marked
“Unknown.”
• Views
• Duration
• Likes
• Dislikes
• Comments
• Shares
We also collected data from the results of the two
elections:
RESULTS • Our search terms yielded 285 unique videos: 168 related to Amendment 1 117
RESULTS
• Our search terms yielded 285 unique videos:
168 related to Amendment 1
117 related to Referendum 74.
Figure 1: Box
plots displayed
for (clockwise)
Duration,
Views, Dislikes,
Likes
*Interquartile
range only
shown for
Views, Dislikes,
and Likes for
display
purposes
Table 1: Results from Logistic Regression Model
Sentiment
• Positive sentiment videos were associated with a higher
likelihood of voting “For” a measure
• Negative sentiment videos were likewise associated
with a higher likelihood of voting “Against” a measure
Likes
• Number of likes was positively correlated with the
voting outcomes as well
• Number of dislikes was negatively correlated with the
voting outcomes
Views
• More views of positive videos were associated with a
higher likelihood of voting “Against” a measure
• More views of negative videos were associated with a
higher likelihood of voting “For” a measure
CONCLUSIONS • Our finding that more views of “Positive” sentiment videos correlated to a higher
CONCLUSIONS
• Our finding that more views of “Positive” sentiment
videos correlated to a higher likelihood to vote
“Against” the measure and more views of “Negative”
sentiment videos correlated to a higher likelihood to
vote “For” the measure indicates that the messaging
appeals currently being used in YouTube videos
promoting either side of the referendum were not
effective. Further content analysis must be performed to
determine why.
• In a divisive political climate, the effects of social
networking are amplified as polarized groups fight to
sway moderate voters onto their respective sides.
• As social media overtake traditional media in popularity,
more and more people will turn to outlets like YouTube
for political information.
• Persuasive political advertising will play a large role in
future political issues as a large percentage of
Americans remain moderate.
REFERENCES
Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved November 3, 2014, from
https://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html
Social Networking Fact Sheet. (2014, January 1). Retrieved November 3, 2014, from
http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/social-networking-fact-sheet/
Rainie, L., Smith, A., Schlozman, K., Brady, H., & Verba, S. (2012, October 19). Social
Media and Political Engagement. Retrieved November 3, 2014, from
http://www.pewinternet.org/2012/10/19/social-media-and-political-engagement/
Holcomb, J., Gottfried, J., & Mitchell, A. (2013, November 14). News Use Across Social
Media Platforms. Retrieved November 3, 2014, from
http://www.journalism.org/2013/11/14/news-use-across-social-media-platforms/
O'Neill, M. (2012, October 1). 2012 Presidential & Vice Presidential Debates To Stream Live
On YouTube - SocialTimes. Retrieved November 3, 2014, from http://socialtimes.com/2012-
presidential-debates-youtube_b105711
Election 2012 Obama's Complete Victory Speech New York Times [Motion picture]. (2012).
New York Times.
Jenkins, B. (2014, March 6). YouTube Stars Talk Health Care (and Make History) at the
White House. Retrieved November 3, 2014, from
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/03/06/youtube-stars-talk-health-care-and-make-
history-white-house
Senate Bill 514. (2011, January 1). Retrieved November 3, 2014, from
http://www.ncleg.net/sessions/2011/bills/senate/pdf/s514v5.pdf
Gebeloff, R., & Leonhardt, D. (2014, August 23). The Growing Blue-State Diaspora.
Retrieved November 3, 2014.
North Carolina Official Results 2012. (2012, May 8). Retrieved November 3, 2014, from
http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/NC/36596/85942/en/summary.html
Referendum Measure 74. (2012, November 6). Retrieved November 3, 2014, from
https://wei.sos.wa.gov/agency/osos/en/press_and_research/PreviousElections/2012/General-
Election/Documents/R-74_complete_text.pdf
General Election Results. (2012, November 27). Retrieved November 3, 2014, from
http://results.vote.wa.gov/results/20121106/Referendum-Measure-No-74-Concerns-marriage-
for-same-sex-couples.html
Amendment One: Wrong for NC Families [Motion picture]. (2012). Governor Bev Perdue.
Lindenfield, D. (2005). Indigenous Encounters with Christian Missionaries in China and West
Africa, 1800-1920: A Comparative Study. Journal of World History, 16(3), 327-369.
Michael, D. (2014, June 12). Political Polarization in the American Public. Retrieved
November 3, 2014, from http://www.people-press.org/files/2014/06/6-12-2014-Political-
Polarization-Release.pdf
Acknowledgements
*Contact at p2007joshi@gmail.com
Thank you to my parents, Dhanesh and Shivangi Joshi, for their undying
love and support through all of my undertakings.