Documenting the Emergence of Grassroots Politics on Facebook: the Florida Case

Ji Young Kim, Magda Giurcanu, Juliana Fernandes


This study analyzed the message characteristics of U.S. high school and college students’ Facebook political groups to explore how young voters produce and reproduce political content on social network sites. Grounded in communication frame analysis, a quantitative content analysis revealed that the majority of Facebook wall posts focused on politics as a game frame rather than as an issue frame, paralleling findings in traditional news media research. Additional results show that within the interactivity frame, hyperlinks and a call for offline interactions are prevalent, as well as the emotional manifestation frame. When accounted for the election type and partisanship in the context of 2008 presidential and 2010 midterm elections, Democrats dominated the discussion during presidential elections, but Republicans were more active during congressional elections. The results of this research contribute to our understanding of the use of social networking sites for political purposes. Most importantly, it adds to the scarce body of knowledge on the grassroots-style of political discourse. 


Facebook, political engagement, framing analysis, young voters

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