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

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

Abstract


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.


Keywords


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

Full Text:

PDF

References


References

Baumgartner, J. C., & Morris, J. S. (2010). MyFaceTube Politics: Social Networking Web Sites and Political Engagement of Young Adults. Social Science Computer Review, 28(1), 24-44.

Bekkers, R. (2012). Trust and Volunteering: Selection or Causation? Evidence From a 4 Year Panel Study. Political Behavior, 34(2), 225-247.

Bode, L., Vraga, E. K., Borah, P., & Shah, D. V. (2014). A New Space for Political Behavior: Political Social Networking and its Democratic Consequences. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 19(3), 414-429.

Bouchillon, B. C. (2014). Social Ties and Generalized Trust, Online and in Person: Contact or Conflict—The Mediating Role of Bonding Social Capital in America. Social Science Computer Review, 32(4), 506-523.

Boulianne, S. (2015). Social media use and participation: a meta-analysis of current research. Information, Communication & Society, 18(5), 524-538.

Brady, H.E. (1999). Political participation. In J. P. Robinson, P. R. Shaver & L. S. Wrightsman (Eds.), Measures of political attitudes (Vol 2 of Measures of Social Psychological Attitudes, pp. 737-801). San Diego: Academic Press.

Brown, K. M., Hoye, R., & Nicholson, M. (2014). Generating trust? Sport and community participation. Journal of Sociology, 50(4), 437-457.

Burns, N., & Kinder, D. R. (2000). Social Trust and Democratic Politics. ANES Pilot Study Report, No. nes010112. Retrieved from

www.electionstudies.org/resources/papers/documents/nes010112.pdf

Byrne, B. M. (2010). Structural equation modeling with AMOS: Basic concepts, applications, and programming. New York: Routledge.

Carlisle, J. E., & Patton, R. C. (2013). Is social media changing how we understand political engagement? An analysis of Facebook and the 2008 presidential election. Political Research Quarterly, 66(4), 883-895.

Chan, M. (2014). Exploring the contingent effects of political efficacy and partisan strength on the relationship between online news use and democratic engagement. International Journal of Communication, 8, 1195-1215.

Chan, M., & Guo, J. (2013). The role of political efficacy on the relationship between Facebook use and participatory behaviors: A comparative study of young American and Chinese adults. Cyberpsychology, Behavior & Social Networking, 16(6), 460-463.

CIRCLE (the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement) (2016). An estimated 24 million young people voted in 2016 election. Retrieved from http://civicyouth.org/an-estimated-24-million-young-people-vote-in-2016-election/

Cohen, C. J., Kahne, J., Bowyer, B., Middaugh, E., & Rogowski, J. (2012). Participatory Politics. The MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics. Retrieved from https://ypp.dmlcentral.net/sites/default/files/publications/Participatory_Politics_Report.pdf

Cohen, J., Cohen, P., West, S. G., & Aiken, L. S. (2003). Applied multiple

regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences (3rd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Collins, C. R., Neal, J. W., & Neal, Z. P. (2014). Transforming individual civic engagement into community collective efficacy: The role of bonding social capital. American Journal of Community Psychology, 54(3-4), 328-336.

Dimitrova, D. V., & Bystrom, D. (2013). The effects of social media on political participation and candidate image evaluations in the 2012 Iowa caucuses. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(11), 1568-1583.

Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2007). The benefits of Facebook “friends:” Social capital and college students’ use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4), 1143-1168.

Feldman, D. (2016). Election Day dominated Facebook with over 716M election-related interactions. Retrieved from

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danafeldman/2016/11/09/election-day-played-out-on-facebook-with-over-716m-election-related-likes-posts-comments-shares/#275f12556c83

Flannery, D., & O’Donoghue, C. (2013). The demand for higher education: A static structural approach accounting for individual heterogeneity and nesting patterns. Economics of Education Review, 34, 243–257.

Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research, 18(1), 39-50.

Gibson, R., & Cantijoch, M. (2013). Conceptualizing and Measuring Participation in the Age of the Internet: Is Online Political Engagement Really Different to Offline?. Journal of Politics, 75(3), 701-716.

Gibson, R. K., McAllister, I. (2013). Online social ties and political engagement. Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 10(1), 21-34.

Gil de Zúñiga, H. G., Barnidge, M., & Scherman, A. (2017). Social Media Social Capital, Offline Social Capital, and Citizenship: Exploring Asymmetrical Social Capital Effects. Political Communication, 34(1), 44-68.

Gil de Zúñiga, H., Copeland, L., & Bimber, B. (2014a). Political consumerism: Civic engagement and the social media connection. New Media & Society, 16(3), 488-506.

Gil de Zúñiga, H., Jung, N., & Valenzuela, S. (2012). Social media use for news and individuals’social capital, civic engagement and political participation. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 17 (3), 319-336.

Gil de Zúñiga, H., Molyneux, L., & Zheng, P. (2014b). Social media, political expression, and political participation: Panel analysis of lagged and concurrent relationships. Journal of Communication, 64(4), 612-634.

Gottfried, J., Barthel, M., Shearer, E., & Mitchell, A. (2016). The 2016 presidential campaign – a news event that’s hard to miss. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.journalism.org/2016/02/04/the-2016-presidential-campaign-a-news-event-thats-hard-to-miss/

Green, J., & Issenberg, S. (2016). The Trump machine is built to last. Bigly. Bloomberg Businessweek, 4497, 44-49.

Greenwood, S., Perrin, A., & Duggan, M. (2016). Social media update 2016. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/11/social-media-update-2016/

Groshek, J., & Dimitrova, D. V. (2011). A cross-section of voter learning, campaign interest and intention to vote in the 2008 American election: Did Web 2.0 matter? Communication Studies Journal, 9, 355-375.

Growiec, K., & Growiec, J. (2014). Trusting only whom you know, knowing only whom you trust: The joint impact of social capital and trust on happiness in CEE countries. Journal of Happiness Studies, 15(5), 1015-1040.

Hargittai, E., & Shaw, A. (2013). Digitally savvy citizenship: The role of Internet skills and engagement in young adults’ political participation around the 2008 presidential election. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 57(2), 115-134.

Himelboim, I., Lariscy, R., Tinkham, S. F., & Sweetser, K. D. (2012). Social Media and Online Political Communication: The Role of Interpersonal Informational Trust and Openness. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 56(1), 92-115.

Hofer, M., & Aubert, V. (2013). Perceived bridging and bonding social capital on Twitter: Differentiating between followers and followees. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(6), 2134-2142.

Housholder, E., & LaMarre, H. L. (2015). Political social media engagement: Comparing campaign goals with voter behavior. Public Relations Review, 41(1), 138-140.

Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6 (1), 1-55.

Hyun, K. D., & Kim, J. (2015). Differential and interactive influences on political participation by different types of news activities and political conversation through social media. Computers in Human Behavior, 45, 328-334.

Isaac, M., & Ember, S. (2016). For Election Day Chatter, Twitter Still Dominated Its Social Media Peers. The New York Times, November 9, 2016, p. 3.

Jensen, J. L. (2013). Political Participation Online: The Replacement and the Mobilisation Hypotheses Revisited. Scandinavian Political Studies, 36(4), 347-364.

Jordan, G., Pope, M., Wallis, P., & Iyer, S. (2015). The relationship between openness to experience and willingness to engage in online political participation is influenced by news consumption. Social Science Computer Review, 33(2), 181-197.

Jung, N., Kim, Y., & Gil de Zúñiga, H. (2011). The mediating role of knowledge and efficacy in the effects of communication on political participation. Mass Communication & Society, 14(4), 407-430.

Keegan, J. (2016). Clinton vs. Trump: How they used Twitter. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://graphics.wsj.com/clinton-trump-twitter/

Kim, S., Lee, J., & Yoon, D. (2015). Norms in social media: The application of theory of reasoned action and personal norms in predicting interactions with Facebook page like ads. Communication Research Reports, 32(4), 322-331.

Kim, Y., & Chen, H. (2016). Social media and online political participation: The mediating role of exposure to cross-cutting and like-minded perspectives. Telematics & Informatics, 33(2), 320-330.

Kim, Y., & Geidner, N. W. (2008). Politics as friendship: The impact of online social networks on young voters’ political behavior. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Kim, Y., & Khang, H. (2014). Revisiting civic voluntarism predictors of college students’ political participation in the context of social media. Computers in Human Behavior, 36, 114-121.

Kock, N. (2015). Common method bias in PLS-SEM: A full collinearity assessment approach. International Journal of E-Collaboration, 11(4), 1–10.

Kock, N., & Lynn, G.S. (2012). Lateral collinearity and misleading results in variance-based SEM: An illustration and recommendations. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 13(7), 546-580.

Lapowsky, I. (2016). Here’s how Facebook actually won Trump the presidency. Wired. Retrieved from https://www.wired.com/2016/11/facebook-won-trump-election-not-just-fake-news/

Lerman, A. E., Mccabe, K. T., & Sadin, M. L. (2015). Political ideology, skin tone, and the psychology of candidate evaluations. Public Opinion Quarterly, 79(1), 53-90.

Leshner, G., & Thorson, E. (2000). Overreporting voting: Campaign media, public mood, and the vote. Political Communication, 17, 263–278.

Lin, N. (2001). Social Capital: A Theory of Structure and Action. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Matthes, J. (2013). Do hostile opinion environments harm political participation? The moderating role of generalized social trust. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 25(1), 23-42.

Metzger, M. W., Erete, S. L., Barton, D. L., Desler, M. K., & Lewis, D. A. (2015). The new political voice of young Americans: Online engagement and civic development among first-year college students. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 10(1), 55-66.

Moeller, J., de Vreese, C., Esser, F., & Kunz, R. (2014). Pathway to political participation: The influence of online and offline news media on internal efficacy and turnout of first- time voters. American Behavioral Scientist, 58(5), 689-700.

Narayanswamy, A., Cameron, D., & Gold, M. (2016, December 9). How much money is behind each campaign? The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/2016-election/campaign-finance/

Niemand, T., & Mai, R. (2018). Flexible cutoff values for fit indices in the evaluation of structural equation models. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 46(6), 1148–1172.

Niemi, R. G., Craig, S. C., & Mattei, F. (1991). Measuring internal political efficacy in the 1988 national election study. American Political Science Review, 85 (4), 1407-1413.

Nunnally, J. C., & Bernstein, I. H. (1994). Psychometric theory. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, Inc.

Oser, J., Hooghe, M., & Marien, S. (2013). Is online participation distinct from offline participation? A latent class analysis of participation types and their stratification. Political Research Quarterly, 66(1), 91-101.

Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Lee, J.-Y., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2003). Common method biases in behavioral research: a critical review of the literature and recommended remedies. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(5), 879–903.

Pew Research Center (2012). Young voters supported Obama less, but may have mattered more. Retrieved from www.people-press.org/2012/11/26/young-voters-supported- obama-less-but-may-have-mattered-more/

Pew Research Center (2016). Election 2016: Campaigns as a direct source of news. Retrieved from http://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/13/2016/07/PJ_2016.07.18_election-2016_FINAL.pdf

Phua, J., Jin, S. V., & Kim, J. (2017). Uses and gratifications of social networking sites for bridging and bonding social capital: A comparison of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Computers in Human Behavior, 72, 115-122.

Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Rojas, H., & Puig-i-Abril, E. (2009). Mobilizers mobilized: Information, expression, mobilization and participation in the digital age. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14(4), 902-927.

Rosenberg, M. (1956). Misanthropy and political ideology. American Sociological Review, 21(6), 690-695.

Sajuria, J., van Heerde-Hudson, J., Hudson, D., Dasandi, N., & Theocharis, Y. (2015). Tweeting alone? An analysis of bridging and bonding social capital in online networks. American Politics Research, 43(4), 708-738.

Scheufele, D. A., & Nisbet, M. C. (2002). Being a citizen online: New opportunities and dead ends. Harvard Journal of Press/Politics, 7(3), 55–75.

Shah, D. V., Cho, J., Eveland, W. P. Jr., & Kwak, N. (2005). Information and expression in a digital age: Modeling Internet effects on civic participation. Communication Research, 32 (5), 531-565.

Smith, A. (2013). Civic engagement in the digital age. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/04/25/civic-engagement-in-the-digital-age/

Skoric, M. M., & Zhu, Q. (2016). Social Media and Offline Political Participation: Uncovering the Paths From Digital to Physical. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 28(3), 415-427.

Skoric, M. M., Zhu, Q., Goh, D., & Pang, N. (2016). Social media and citizen engagement: A meta-analytic review. New Media & Society, 18(9), 1817-1839.

Slefo., G. P. (2017). Trump strategist says Facebook drove $280 million in donations. Adage.com. Retrieved from https://adage.com/article/digital/trump-media-strategist-facebook-generated-280m-donations/311226

Theocharis, Y., & Lowe, W. (2016). Does Facebook increase political participation? Evidence from a field experiment. Information, Communication & Society, 19(10), 1465-1486.

Towner, T. L. (2013). All political participation is socially networked?: New media and the 2012 election. Social Science Computer Review, 31(5), 527-541.

Uslaner, E. M., & Brown, M. (2005). Inequality, trust and civic engagement. American Politics Research, 33(6), 868-894.

Valenzuela, S., Kim, Y., & Gil de Zúñiga, H. (2012). Social networks that matter: Exploring the role of political discussion for online political participation. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 24 (2), 163-184.

Valenzuela, S., Park, N., & Kee, K. F. (2009). Is there social capital in a social network site?: Facebook use and college students’ life satisfaction, trust, and participation. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14 (4), 875-901.

van Ingen, E., & Bekkers, R. (2015). Generalized trust through civic engagement? Evidence from five national panel studies. Political Psychology, 36(3), 277-294.

van Veen, F., Göritz, A. S., & Sattler, S. (2016). Response effects of prenotification, prepaid cash, prepaid vouchers, and postpaid vouchers: An experimental comparison. Social Science Computer Review, 34(3), 333-346.

Vitak, J., Zube, P., Smock, A., Carr, C. T., Ellison, N., & Lampe, C. (2011). It’s complicated: Facebook users’ political participation in the 2008 election. Cyberpsychology, Behavior & Social Networking 14 (3): 107-114.

Warren, A. M., Sulaiman, A., & Jaafar, N. I. (2015). Understanding civic engagement behaviour on Facebook from a social capital theory perspective. Behaviour & Information Technology, 34(2), 163-175.

Wicks, R. H., Wicks, J. L., Morimoto, S. A., Maxwell, A., & Schulte, S. R. (2014). Correlates of political and civic engagement among youth during the 2012 presidential campaign. American Behavioral Scientist, 58(5), 622-644.

Williams, D. (2006). On and Off the ’Net: Scales for Social Capital in an Online Era. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11(2), 593-628.

Williams, D. (2007). The Impact of Time Online: Social Capital and Cyberbalkanization. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 10(3), 398-406.

Xenos, M., Vromen, A., & Loader, B. D. (2014). The great equalizer? Patterns of social media use and youth political engagement in three advanced democracies. Information, Communication & Society, 17(2), 151-167.

Yamamoto, M., Kushin, M. J., & Dalisay, F. (2015). Social media and mobiles as political mobilization forces for young adults: Examining the moderating role of online political expression in political participation. New Media & Society, 17(6), 880-898.

Yang, H. & DeHart, J. L. (2016a). Social Media Use and Online Political Participation Among College Students During the US Election 2012. Social Media + Society, 2(1), 1-18. doi:10.1177/2056305115623802.

Yang, H. & DeHart, J. L. (2016b). Predicting U.S. College Students’ Presidential Voting Behavior, Online and Offline Political Participation, and Civic Engagement in Election 2012 in the Age of Social Media. Paper presented at the 2016 Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, Fukuoka, Japan, June 9-13.

Zhang, W., Seltzer, T., & Bichard, S. L. (2013). Two sides of the coin: Assessing the influence of social network site use during the 2012 U.S. Presidential campaign. Social Science Computer Review, 31(5), 542-551.

Zhong, Z. (2014). Civic engagement among educated Chinese youth: The role of SNS (Social Networking Services), bonding and bridging social capital. Computers & Education, 75, 263-273.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Based at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, USA, The Journal of Social Media in Society is sponsored by the Colleges of Liberal and Fine Arts, Education, Business, and Graduate Studies.