Social Media Use, Political Participation, and Civic Engagement in Election 2016

Hongwei "Chris" Yang, Newly Paul, Jean L DeHart


Immediately after Election 2016, an online survey of 3,810 US college students in a "swing state" shows that the general use of Facebook has a small, negative effect on U.S. college students’ online/offline political participation and civic engagement over and above six control variables and four demographic variables. The participants’ political use of Facebook is a much more important and positive predictor than their general use of Facebook for online/offline political participation and civic engagement even after controlling for six relevant variables and four demographic variables. Their online and offline political participation, and civic engagement were closely related. Their online social capital led to political use of Facebook but did not predict online/offline political participation and civic engagement. Additional interesting findings are also presented, theoretical and practical implications discussed.


social media use; online and offline political participation; civic engagement; political self-efficacy; online social capital; trust

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