Being active on social media sites can lead to greater political participation, reveals a new study.
The University of Sydney surveyed 3,600 young people (16-29 years) across the U.S., United Kingdom and Australia, and found that 90 percent used Facebook and 50 percent used Twitter. Facebook was found to be the most effective channel for getting people interested in politics, with 65 percent of Australian respondents citing Facebook as where they first heard about news and major events, as opposed to traditional outlets such as newspapers and television.
“Our research suggests that we need to take Facebook much more seriously as a space where young people – purposefully or incidentally – engage with politics, with their networks of friends and family,” said Associate Professor Ariadne Vromen from the Department of Government and International Relations, who is a lead researcher in the two-year project called The Civic Network.
“We have found overall that increasing use of social media leads to more political participation by young people,” said Associate Professor Ariadne Vromen from the Department of Government and International Relations, lead researcher in the two-year project called The Civic Network. “Especially for those young people that have an issue-based approach to why political participation matters, rather than a traditional orientation that only focuses on formal, electoral politics.”
“Most of the young people we questioned said they think politicians should use social media more,” she added. “They think politicians should be asked questions publicly more often to show they are responsive to people’s views.”