Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 11-29-2023

Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Ann Gordon


By permitting each American to be exposed to countless amounts of information through social media, platforms have become even more influential for public perception. Since the establishment of social media platforms the United States has certainly seen an increase in political and social disputes, particularly during the last couple presidencies. In this paper I will examine what is the link between growing concerns of public unrest and social media, and to what extent the next generations of Americans are affected. With a partial focus on feelings resulting from the January 6th riots in 2021, I will examine to what extent social media changes public opinion and civil unrest. Using original data sets like the Chapman University Survey of American Fears I find a strong relationship between Americans' increased fears, consistent social media usage in terms of receiving news. Generally speaking these findings have illuminated that social media can present fears and influence the minds of young Americans specifically. When evaluating the effects of January 6th, and political intensity that followed, I find that those who do not primarily receive information through social media are less likely to hold extreme political opinions and concerns. As well, their general fear of civil unrest is lower than those who may use social media everyday as a news resource. Therefore it's important to analyze social media influence contributing to increased fears, to perhaps further understand its effect on society and politics. Although social media is a great tool for information and communication, it elevates fear mongering and negativity towards general public perception.


Presented at the Fall 2023 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.