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Social Media vs. Traditional Internet Use for Community Involvement: Toward Broadening Participation

Abstract : Education has consistently been the main predictor of political and civic engagement in offline and traditional Internet (i.e., email and web browsing) contexts in the US. Prior research suggests that the same ’more educated, extroverted, and activist’ type of individuals (i.e., similar to opinion leaders) continued to be more engaged in civic affairs regardless of offline or online context. That is, the advent of Internet access and use did not fundamentally change the pattern of civic engagement in the US. With social media, however, the correlation between education and civic engagement may be less strong. Social media (e.g., social network sites like Facebook or MySpace, blogs and micro-blogs like Twitter, and photo and video sharing sites like Flickr and YouTube) are able to leverage offline social networks online to enable information and idea sharing among trusted sources about civic issues and concerns. In this paper we report findings from a 2012 survey of residents in the geographic community of Blacksburg, Virginia and environs. The main implication of our findings is that social media use for civic purposes is less strongly associated with and predicted by education and extroversion. As such, social media may represent a breakthrough in broadening community involvement.
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Andrea Kavanaugh, John Tedesco, Kumbirai Madondo. Social Media vs. Traditional Internet Use for Community Involvement: Toward Broadening Participation. 6th International Conference on Electronic Participation (ePart), Sep 2014, Dublin, Ireland. pp.1-12, ⟨10.1007/978-3-662-44914-1_1⟩. ⟨hal-01396909⟩

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