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Republish it! But please do not edit the piece. Also make sure that you attribute the author, and mention the article was originally published on Scholars Strategy Network. \u003Cem\u003EBy copying and pasting the markup below you will be adhering to these guidelines.\u003C\/em\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\n \u003Cp\u003E\u003Ca href=\u0022\/republishing-ssn-articles\u0022\u003EView additional guideline details.\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\n \u003C\/div\u003E\n\n \u003Ctextarea\u003E\n \u003Cdiv about=\u0022\/brief\/how-online-social-networking-helps-draw-young-americans-political-participation\u0022 typeof=\u0022sioc:Item foaf:Document\u0022 class=\u0022ds-1col node node-brief view-mode-stealourcontent_node clearfix\u0022\u003E\n \u003Ch2\u003E\n How Online Social Networking Helps Draw Young Americans into Political Participation\n \u003C\/h2\u003E\u003Ca href=\u0022http:\/\/www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org\/scholar\/kenneth-w-moffett\u0022\u003EKenneth W. Moffett\u003C\/a\u003E, \u003Ca href=\u0022http:\/\/www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org\/scholar\/laurie-l-rice\u0022\u003ELaurie L. Rice\u003C\/a\u003E, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville\n \u003Cp\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003ERepresentative democracy requires active participation by each generation of citizens. Although young adults have been at the center of some of America\u2019s major social and political movements, their participation in politics has recently lagged far behind engagement by older citizens. Young adults are consistently underrepresented at the voting booth and are far less likely to contact elected officials, volunteer, send letters to the editor or engage in other well-established ways.\u003C\/span\u003E\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003EThe 2008 presidential campaign marked the start of the significant use of online social networking \u2013 and the same younger generation least politically involved in traditional ways was the group most familiar with social networking and most likely to respond to online campaign contacts. \u201cLiking\u201d a candidate, joining a campaign\u2019s social network, or \u201cfriending\u201d a political party required little more than a click of a mouse or a tap on a smart phone. Could these simple actions that drew young people into the 2008 campaign lead to additional political participation?\u003C\/span\u003E\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003ETo find out, we conducted surveys of randomly selected undergraduates at a large university in the Midwest before and after the 2008 presidential elections. We asked about college students\u2019 engagement in online political social networks, as well as other forms of political participation. We examined the relationship between online social networking and other forms of political activity, and measured differences between young people who join a politically focused online social network and those who participate in a variety of offline forms of civic engagement.\u003C\/span\u003E\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\u0022brief-title\u0022\u003EWho Joins Online Political Social Networks?\u003C\/span\u003E\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003EPolitical science majors not surprisingly participate in politics more than their peers majoring in other subjects. Overall, students who joined campaign-related social networks in 2008 were little different than those involved in traditional forms of offline participation.\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/p\u003E\n \u003Cul class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003E\n \u003Cli\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EStudents who read more online news are more likely to participate.\u003C\/strong\u003E The more students read news online, the more likely they are both to engage in offline forms of participation and to friend or like a candidate, political party, or other political group online.\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EStudents who post their views online are more likely to participate.\u003C\/strong\u003E Making one\u2019s political views available online for others to see requires the courage of one\u2019s convictions. Students who did so were both more likely to join online political social networks and more engaged in traditional forms of participation.\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003C\/ul\u003E\n \u003Cp\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\u0022brief-title\u0022\u003ESocial Networking as a Pathway to Political Participation\u003C\/span\u003E\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003EOur research suggests that online, politically-focused social networking among college students broadens engagement and serves as a way to engage students in additional kinds of participation.\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/p\u003E\n \u003Cul class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003E\n \u003Cli\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EInterest in politics is not a prerequisite for joining an online political social network.\u003C\/strong\u003E Previous research has found that one of the strongest predictors of political activity is individual interest in politics. After all, why would a person devote time to a subject that is not interesting? Our research confirms that students increase their participation offline as they become more interested in politics. However, we find no link between prior interest in politics and liking or friending a candidate, or taking part in an online political social network. Online networking attracts college students who would otherwise not participate.\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EOnline friending facilitates higher levels of engagement in other forms of political participation.\u003C\/strong\u003E Once students join an online social network that is political in nature, they also become more likely to participate in various offline civic and political activities.\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli\u003E\n \u003Cspan\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EParticipation leads to more participation.\u003C\/strong\u003E Engaging in one form of participation, regardless of type, means that college students are more likely to engage in other forms too.\u0026nbsp;\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003C\/ul\u003E\n \u003Cp\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\u0022brief-title\u0022\u003EMobilizing College Students to Become Active Citizens\u003C\/span\u003E\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003EScholars investigating why eligible citizens \u003Cem\u003Emay not\u003C\/em\u003E participate in democratic politics have discovered that individual characteristics and motivation matter. Educated people with a strong interest in politics almost always vote, for example. But another important predictor is whether citizens are asked to get involved \u2013 by a social contact or a political campaign.\u003C\/span\u003E\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003EIn elections, one of the reasons many U.S. college students end up not participating is because nobody asks. That is changing fast as online tools are deployed. Social networking sites provide an easy way for candidates and political groups to reach out to large numbers of college students and invite them to participate. And online contacts and invitations tend to proliferate, because a student\u2019s decision to friend or like a candidate, political party, or other political group begets numerous invitations to participate in the electoral and political process. Our study did not examine the actual content of online appeals, but our data clearly show that students who engaged in campaign-related social networking were more politically mobilized. In fact, friending or otherwise joining an online, politically-focused social network was associated with engaging in more offline forms of participation than any other factor we examined, including the traditionally powerful factor of level of interest in politics.\u003C\/span\u003E\u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cbr\u003E\n \u003Cspan class=\u0022brief-paragraph\u0022\u003EBarack Obama\u2019s ability to generate enthusiasm among college students was widely touted. That happened for a variety of reasons, but when our research took into account strength of partisanship, ideology, and other commonly predictive factors, supporters of Obama were not unusually likely to be politically engaged offline. Instead, the Obama campaign\u2019s savvy use of social networking greatly helped to mobilize college students. In future elections, candidates and political organizations seeking support from college students will be wise to build a strong presence online and actively appeal to these young Americans via social networking sites.\u003C\/span\u003E\n \u003C\/p\u003E\n \u003Cp class=\u0022brief-footer-comments\u0022\u003E\n Read more in Laurie L. Rice, Kenneth W. Moffett, and Ramana Madrupalli, \u201c\u003Ca href=\u0022http:\/\/ssc.sagepub.com\/content\/31\/3\/257.short\u0022\u003ECampaign-Related Social Networking and the Political Participation of College Students\u003C\/a\u003E.\u201d \u003Cem\u003ESocial Science Computer Review\u003C\/em\u003E 31, no. 2 (2013): 257-279.\n \u003C\/p\u003E\n \u003Ctable border=\u00220\u0022 align=\u0022left\u0022\u003E\n \u003Ctr\u003E\n \u003Ctd\u003E\n \u003Ca href=\u0022http:\/\/www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org\/scholarsstrategynetwork.org\u0022\u003Ewww.scholarsstrategynetwork.org\u003C\/a\u003E\n \u003C\/td\u003E\n \u003C\/tr\u003E\n \u003C\/table\u003E\n \u003Ctable border=\u00220\u0022 align=\u0022right\u0022\u003E\n \u003Ctr\u003E\n \u003Ctd\u003E\n February 2014\n \u003C\/td\u003E\n \u003C\/tr\u003E\n \u003C\/table\u003E\n\u003C\/div\u003E \u003Cp\u003EThis article was originally published on \u003Ca href=\u0022http:\/\/www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org\/\u0022\u003EScholars Strategy Network\u003C\/a\u003E. Read the \u003Ca href=\u0022http:\/\/www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org\/brief\/how-online-social-networking-helps-draw-young-americans-political-participation\u0022\u003Eoriginal article\u003C\/a\u003E.\u003C\/p\u003E\n \u003Cimg height=\u00221\u0022 width=\u00221\u0022 typeof=\u0022foaf:Image\u0022 src=\u0022http:\/\/www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org\/stealourcontent\/track.gif?nid=1224\u0022 alt=\u0022\u0022 \/\u003E \u003C\/textarea\u003E\n\n \u003Cp\u003ECopy the above code and paste it into your website or CMS to republish.\u003C\/p\u003E\n \u003C\/div\u003E\n"}]