The revolution will be networked: The influence of social networking sites on political attitudes and behavior

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Abstract

Social networking is a phenomenon of interest to many scholars. While most of the recent research on social networking sites has focused on user characteristics, very few studies have examined their roles in engaging people in the democratic process. This paper relies on a telephone survey of Southwest residents to examine the extent to which reliance on social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and YouTube has engaged citizens in civic and political activities. More specifically, this study looks at the extent to which social networking sites influence political attitudes and democratic participation after controlling for demographic variables and the role of interpersonal political discussion in stimulating citizen participation. The findings indicate that reliance on social networking sites is significantly related to increased civic participation, but not political participation. Interpersonal discussion fosters both civic participation and political activity. Implications of the results for democratic governance will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-92
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Science Computer Review
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2010

Keywords

  • Civic activities
  • Democratic governance
  • Democratic participation
  • Facebook
  • Internet
  • MySpace
  • Political attitudes
  • Social networking
  • YouTube

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