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Social media changed UK political reporting for better

Oxford study finds that increased use of social networking sites is linked to high levels of politic

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have changed the methods of electioneering and political reporting for the better in the UK, according to a study published by Oxford University's Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ) released this week.

The study concludes that journalists and politicians have learnt how to harness the power of social networking sites, which contributed to unprecedented levels of participation and voter turnout, particularly among voters aged 18-24 years, at the General Election held on 6 May.

The online survey for the study showed that nearly all of the 18-24 year olds used social media during the election period to share content, discuss the election, or join online networking groups and polls.

One quarter of the age group said they had used social networks to comment on the General Election and 81 per cent of them expressed an interest in the election campaign.

Twitter has been an essential source of real-time information for journalists and politicians, said study author Nic Newman.