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Much scholarship has examined how accessing news and other civic and politically oriented online activities can influence offline civic and political behaviors. Much less is known about the influence of nonpolitical online activity on civic and political practices. We found that youth engagement in some forms of nonpolitical online activity can serve as a gateway to participation in civic and political life, including volunteering, community problem solving, protest activities, and political voice. Unlike most prior work in this area that relies on convenience samples and cross-sectional data, we draw on two large panel studies, so we are able to control for prior levels of civic and political engagement. With such controls in place and with controls for a full range of demographic variables, we find that relationships between participation in nonpolitical online participatory cultures on the one hand and civic and political participation on the other remain statistically significant for both datasets. While politically driven online participation is clearly also worthy of attention, our findings indicate that it should not be seen as the only relevant bridge from online activity to civic and political engagement.
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The Civic and Political Significance of Online
Participatory Cultures among Youth Transitioning to
Joseph Kahne
, Nam-Jin Lee
& Jessica T. Feezell
Mills College
MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics
Department of Communication, College of Charleston
University of New Mexico
Accepted author version posted online: 12 Jun 2012.
To cite this article: Joseph Kahne , Nam-Jin Lee & Jessica T. Feezell (2013): The Civic and Political Significance of Online
Participatory Cultures among Youth Transitioning to Adulthood, Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 10:1, 1-20
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Journal of Information Technology & Politics,10:120,2013
Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 1933-1681 print/1933-169X online
DOI: 10.1080/19331681.2012.701109
The Civic and Political Significance of Online Participatory
Cultures among Youth Transitioning to Adulthood
Joseph Kahne
Nam-Jin Lee
Jessica T. Feezell
ABSTRACT. Much scholarship has examined how accessing news and other civic and politically
oriented online activities can influence offline civic and political behaviors. Much less is known about
the influence of nonpolitical online activity on civic and political practices. We found that youth engage-
ment in some forms of nonpolitical online activity can serve as a gateway to participation in civic and
political life, including volunteering, community problem solving, protest activities, and political voice.
Unlike most prior work in this area that relies on convenience samples and cross-sectional data, we draw
on two large panel studies, so we are able to control for prior levels of civic and political engagement.
With such controls in place and with controls for a full range of demographic variables, we nd that
relationships between participation in nonpolitical online participatory cultures on the one hand and
civic and political participation on the other remain statistically significant for both datasets. While
politically driven online participation is clearly also worthy of attention, our findings indicate that it
should not be seen as the only relevant bridge from online activity to civic and political engagement.
KEYWORDS. Civic and political engagement, digital media, participatory culture, new media,
Joseph Kahne is professor of Education at Mills College and Chair of the MacArthur Foundation Research
Network on Youth and Participatory Politics. His research centers on youth civic and political development
and on the roles schools, youth organizations, and digital media can play in support of that development.
Nam-Jin Lee is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at the College of Charleston.
His main research areas include media framing, political discussion, public opinion, civic engagement, and
youth socialization.
Jessica T. Feezell, Ph.D., is a visiting assistant professor at the University of New Mexico. Her research
centers on the study of information, political knowledge, and democracy with particular interest in youth in
We are enormously grateful to many individuals and institutions for their support of this work. The
MacArthur Foundation and the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Education
(CIRCLE) provided funding that enabled this work. Chris Evans and Ellen Middaugh played significant roles
related to the conceptualization and implementation of this study. Cathy Cohen and the Black Youth Project
(with funding from the Ford Foundation) generously made available data from their s urvey and included a
measure of interest-driven participation on their survey. We also wish to thank Henry Jenkins, Mimi Ito, Bruce
Bimber, and Kent Jennings who, along with the anonymous reviewers, provided very helpful feedback on this
article. Of course, despite all this help, we take full responsibility for our analysis and conclusions.
Address correspondence to: Joseph Kahne, School of Education, Mills College, 5000 MacArthur Blvd.,
Oakland, CA 94613 (E-mail:
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Much scholarship has examined how
accessing news and other civic and politi-
cally oriented online activities can influence
offline behaviors, such as voting and engage-
ment with community issues (Baumgartner
& Morris, 2010; Bimber, 2003; Mossberger,
Tolbert, & McNeal, 2008; Shah, Cho, Eveland,
& Kwak, 2005; Xenos & Moy, 2007). Much
less is known about the influence of nonpo-
litical online engagement on civic and politi-
cal practices. Several qualitative studies indi-
cate that the online participatory cultures that
form around shared interests in hobbies, games,
and aspects of popular culture may sup-
port civic and political life by developing
an individual’s civic skills, sense of agency,
social networks, and appreciation of desir-
able norms for social interaction (Ito et al.,
2009; Jenkins, Clinton, Purushotma, Robison, &
Weigel, 2007). Furthermore, the online discus-
sion that takes place in relation to these activities
may also expose individuals to divergent politi-
cal views (Wojcieszak & Mutz, 2009).
Others have proposed a less desirable rela-
tionship between nonpolitical online activity
and civic and political outcomes. For exam-
ple, a recent meta-analysis by Boulianne (2009)
finds that once controls are in place for politi-
cal interest, there is little relationship between
Internet use and political behavior. Bauerlein
(2008) argues that youth engagement with dig-
ital media has not improved youth knowl-
edge of current affairs or related information.
Consistent with this argument, Sherr (2005) ran
an experiment that indicated that youth pre-
ferred youth-oriented Web sites, but learned less
from them than from more traditional news
sites. In addition, Prior (2007) found that the
increased choice that cable TV and the Internet
provide appears to widen the gap in politi-
cal knowledge and engagement between those
who are interested in politics and those with
a stronger interest in entertainment. Thus, the
enhanced ability to visit nonpolitical sites may
function to distract youth from politically rel-
evant c ontent. Reinforcing concern regarding
inequality, a recent Spanish study finds that
Internet skills predict online political partici-
pation (Anduiza, Gallego, & Cantijoch, 2010),
and Milner (2010) argues that Internet skills and
civic literacy skills often correlate with socioe-
conomic divides, drawing attention to the poten-
tial for online activity to enhance participatory
To date, most quantitative studies that have
considered the relationship between nonpolitical
online activity and civic and political engage-
ment have been cross-sectional in nature and
have relied on convenience samples. We believe
that our study is the first broad-based quantita-
tive panel study of the influences of nonpolitical
online participatory cultures on youth civic and
political engagement. We use two datasets: (a)
transitioning from high school to early adult-
hood and (b) a nationally representative panel
study of 18–35-year-olds. The panel design
enables us to control for prior levels of civic
and political engagement and thus facilitates
online participatory activities on varied forms of
civic and political engagement than is possible
with only cross-sectional data.
When examining relationships between
online participatory cultures and civic and
political engagement, we decided to focus on
youth and young adults. We believe that several
factors make this focus desirable. First, youth
and young adults are heavy users and early
adopters of new media (Krueger, 2002). They
frequently embrace the kind of participatory
culture that can be facilitated by new media
and are the most likely to use the Internet for
entertainment and socializing: 43% of those
aged 18–32 read blogs, 20% create blogs,
and 67% use social networking sites (Jones &
Fox, 2009). Moreover, when it comes to using
new media in relation to civic and political
issues, there appears to be a generational divide.
While 37% of those aged 18–24 obtained
campaign information from social networking
sites in 2008 (more than those who did so
from newspapers), only 4% aged 30–39 did so
(Kohut, 2008). Interestingly, while inequality
persists when it comes to some forms of online
access and participation, in some important
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Kahne, Lee, and Feezell 3
respects, the digital divide among youth may be
less pronounced than other important forms of
inequality. For example, use of blogs and social
networking sites for political purposes by those
aged 18–24 appears to be much less strongly
linked to socioeconomic status (SES) than are
offline political activities (Smith, Schlozman,
Ve rba, & Brady, 2009). Finally, focusing on
youth also makes sense, because adolescence
and early adulthood are times of lasting and
significant civic and political identity devel-
opment (Erikson, 1968; Jennings & Niemi,
1981; Smith, 1999). Indeed, during these years,
young adults are highly impressionable, and
there often is considerable fluctuation in their
political orientations. This is followed by an
enduring period of relative opinion stability
(Jennings, 2007; Sears, 1990). As a result,
the potential impact of new media on civic
and political identity development is likely far
greater in youth than it is on older adults.
Online participatory cultures are contexts in
which participants create and share with others,
experienced participants help less experienced
ones acquire knowledge and solve problems,
and participants develop a sense of connection
with one another and come to understand func-
tional community norms (Jenkins et al., 2007).
Individuals blog, start or join groups, partic-
ipate in networks, share links, and regularly
interact through new media. While the charac-
terizations of many online activities are subject
to debate, we refer to these practices as “partic-
ipation” rather than as “engagement,” because
we want to highlight a distinction between acts
of consumption (reading the newspaper online,
for example) and participation (where one blogs,
for example, or interacts with others, often
in a peer-to-peer context). Both consumption
and participation might well be categorized as
engagement. We posit that these practices can
foster civic and political activity in a manner
consistent with Verba, Schlozman, and Brady’s
(1995) civic volunteerism model by promot-
ing the motivation and capacity to act and by
increasing the likelihood of being recruited into
We examine three domains of online
participatory culture: politics-driven, interest-
driven, and friendship-driven. These cultures
can provide young people with opportunities
to discuss and gain information about political
topics, thus motivating interest. They can create
capacity for action by promoting civically
relevant digital skills and norms for group
interaction. Joining social networks may also
facilitate recruitment into civic and political life.
While our conceptualization of these three
cultures distinguishes between three sets of
practices, we do not assess the relationship
between these practices and particular plat-
forms, such as Facebook or Twitter. While there
is no doubt that analysis of particular platforms
might also yield valuable results, our focus
reflects the fact that use of a given platform can
be driven by varied priorities and purposes. One
might use Twitter, for example, to socialize with
others or to circulate a perspective on a polit-
ical issue to a broad audience. Our goal is to
focus attention on the priorities that drive par-
ticipation. We assess the degree to which youth
online activity is motivated by (a) a desire to
engage with political issues (politics-driven), (b)
interests that are not explicitly political (interest-
driven), or (c) a desire to socialize with friends
(friendship-driven). Since we did not collect
data on the platforms used when youth engaged
in varied participatory acts, other studies will
be needed to assess whether some platforms are
used differently by members of different age
or racial groups and whether some platforms
are particularly well or poorly suited for certain
kinds of online participation (see, for example,
Conroy, Feezell, & Guerrero, in press; Skoric &
Kwan, 2011).
Politics-Driven Online Participation
Politics-driven participation ranges from
reading the news online to more participatory
practices, such as entering into online dialogues
or blogging about a political issue. It is an
increasingly prominent form of political engage-
ment (Smith et al., 2009). It can also be
viewed as an antecedent of various offline civic
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and political behaviors. Studies indicate that
politics-driven online participation can foster
offline engagement by increasing individuals’
political interest and thus their motivation to be
involved, by developing civically relevant digi-
tal skills, and by placing participants in contexts
where recruitment is more likely (Mossberger
et al., 2008; Shah et al., 2005; Shah, McLeod, &
Lee, 2009). Thus, there is some prior empirical
justification for our first hypothesis:
H1: Politics-driven online participation will
foster civic and political engagement.
Interest-Driven Online Participation
While much scholarship has examined
politics-driven participation, little has focused
on the civic and political significance of
interest-driven online participation. These
online activities enable youth to pursue interests
in hobbies, popular culture, new technology,
games, and sports (Ito et al., 2009; Jenkins
et al., 2007). Rather than passively consuming
content, participants produce online materials,
generate ideas, provide feedback, and partic-
ipate in online communities. Because these
activities are driven by specialized interests,
participants tend to interact with those beyond
their immediate friendship networks (Gee &
Hayes, 2010; Ito et al., 2009).
In conceptualizing the value of interest-driven
opportunities, it is worth considering research
on youth extracurricular activities. These offline,
nonpolitical, interest-driven activities provide
opportunities to develop civic skills and pro-
ductive norms of behavior within organiza-
tions, agencies, and social networks. Panel
studies indicate that extracurricular activities
foster social capital and, later, civic and polit-
ical engagement (McFarland & Thomas, 2006;
Smith, 1999).
Interest-driven participation may well
develop civically relevant skills, norms, and
networks in a similar way. In interest-driven
contexts, young people journal about topics of
local concern, organize gaming clans, and remix
and share music online. Free software makes
it easier than ever for youth to practice video
production, share their creations with others,
and receive feedback from other community
members; this interaction may likely strengthen
civically relevant digital and communication
skills and thus bolster an individual’s capacity
for action. These participatory cultures may
also promote youths’ understandings of norms
of community membership and recognition of
the potential of collective undertakings (Jenkins
et al., 2007). Moreover, Wojcieszak and Mutz
(2009) found that 53% of adults encounter
political topics when engaged in online chat
rooms and message boards related to nonpo-
litical leisure activities, including hobby and
fan s ites. While that was a study of adults,
we suspect that interest-driven participation
among youth will also lead to unintended
exposure to political topics and, as a result, may
motivate engagement. Moreover, the border
between nonpolitical interests and politics may
be smaller than many suppose. Jenkins et al.
(2011) found that youth engage in discussions
of politics while engaged in “nonpolitical,”
interest-driven activities and are often motivated
to become politically active online in order
to support nonpolitical interests. In summary,
interest-driven activities may function like
Robert Putnam’s (2000) voluntary associations.
Though not focused on politics, these ativities
can result in bonding and bridging relationships,
skills, agency, and valuable norms for group
action, which in turn can failitate other kinds of
public participation, and so we offer our second
H2: Interest-driven participation will foster
civic and political engagement.
Friendship-Driven Online Participation
Friendship-driven participation is the most
common form of online participation. It cen-
ters on day-to-day interactions youth have with
peers at school and in the neighborhood. Such
online activity often takes place through social
media, such as Facebook (Ito et al., 2009;
Livingstone & Brake, 2009). However, civic
and political topics are not the focus of most
socializing among youth, and friendship-driven
activities generally involve individuals who also
interact with each other offline. Nevertheless,
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Kahne, Lee, and Feezell 5
friendship-driven participation might help youth
develop relevant skills and promote civic or
political engagement. Wyatt, Katz, and Kim
(2000) found that personal conversations in pub-
lic and private spaces often contain civic and
political content; Wojcieszak and Mutz (2009)
found that online socializing and flirting in
chat rooms and message boards do, as well.
Such exposure could activate engagement. Puig-
i-Abril and Rojas (2007) found a clear positive
relationship between online social interaction
and expressive political engagement. In addi-
tion, Ellison, Steinfield, and Lampe (2007);
Kittilson and Dalton (2011); and Valenzuela,
Park, and Kee (2009) found positive relation-
ships between friendship-driven activities such
as Facebook use and civic and political engage-
ment, as well as a connection to varied forms
of social capital. Thus, we propose the follow-
ing hypothesis on the effect of friendship-driven
H3: Friendship-driven online participation
will foster civic and political engage-
In the analysis that follows, we analyze
two sets of panel survey data we collected
centered around the 2008 presidential elec-
tion: the California Civic Survey (CCS) and
the Mobilization, Change, and Political and
Civic Engagement (MCPCE) Project.
While, as
noted above, some have begun assessing these
relationships, our ability to assess the impact of
politics-, interest-, and friendship-driven prac-
tices simultaneously and our use of panel data
both significantly strengthen our ability to assess
these hypotheses.
In the springs of 2005, 2006, and 2007,
we surveyed 5,505 juniors and seniors in high
school. This cross-sectional survey was not
initially designed as a panel study. Students
came from 21 high schools in 21 different
school districts in California. The schools were
selected to ensure a diverse range of demo-
graphic and academic characteristics. The sam-
ple includes schools that enroll mostly white
students (19.0%), schools that enroll mostly stu-
dents of color (42.9%), and schools that are
racially mixed (38.1%). The percentages of stu-
dents receiving a free or reduced-price lunch
ranged from 0% to 92%. To minimize selection
bias, we surveyed entire classes of juniors and
To retain the possibility of a follow-up survey,
in our initial survey we asked about students’
willingness to be contacted in the future. To this,
23.8% consented (n = 1,305). Our follow-
up survey was conducted after the 2008 elec-
tion (December 2008–March 2009) and was
administered to a total of 435 respondents.
This represents a panel retention rate of 33.3%
against the baseline sample and 7.9% against the
initial pool of survey respondents.
We compared the initial survey responses
of those who took the follow-up survey (n =
435) with the responses of those who did not
(n = 5,070). Those who took the follow-up sur-
vey were more likely to be female (61% vs.
50%), have a higher grade point average (GPA;
mean = 3.35 vs. 3.15), and be more politi-
cally interested (mean = 3.8 vs. 3.4) than those
who did not. Significantly, those who took the
follow-up survey were not different in terms of
their new media practices, compared with those
who did not take the follow-up survey. While,
with the proper controls, we see no reason to
believe that the differences between our T1 and
T2 samples would bias the observed relation-
ships between online participation and political
engagement, as a safeguard, we are fortunate
to have been able to conduct a similar analysis
(Study 2) on a nationally representative dataset
(described below).
Three groups of variables were created from
these panel data: (a) measures of new media par-
ticipation, (b) measures of offline civic and polit-
ical engagement (outcome variables), and (c)
control variables (see Appendix A for descrip-
tive statistics for these variables).
Downloaded by [Mills College], [Chris Evans] at 17:56 15 April 2013
New Media Participation
Indicators of politics-driven, interest-driven,
and friendship-driven online participation are
listed in Table 1. Since politics-driven, interest-
driven, and friendship-driven participation had
not been measured simultaneously in any
prior surveys, we used factor analytic tech-
niques to test whether these three forms of
online participation represent distinct factors.
Following conventional eigenva lue-based crite-
ria in exploratory factor analysis, we extracted
factors whose eigenv alues are greater than 1.
Using principal component factor estimation,
we found that three factors had eigenvalues
greater than 1 and that the fourth and a ll sub-
sequent factors accounted for a relatively small
amount of variance. Thus, we extracted three
factors using a principal-axis factoring esti-
mation, and we rotated this solution using a
Promax (oblique) rotation procedure for clearer
interpretation. Table 1 shows the factor-pattern
matrix from this rotated solution. Factor load-
ings were sorted by size to facilitate differentia-
tion between variables. The factor loadings indi-
cate three distinct factors. These three factors
together explain 64.4% of the item variance.
Outcome Variables
We examined civic, political, and expres-
sive forms of engagement to capture the mul-
tiple ways in which youth engage with pub-
lic issues. Attending to a broad range of out-
comes is especially important in light of evi-
dence that young people—and perhaps young
people of color in particular—are drawn to
community-based forms of engagement more
than to engagement in traditional civic and polit-
ical life (Bennett, 2008; Dalton, 2008; Sanchez-
Jankowski, 2002). Our indicators were modi-
fied versions of those used in prior research
TA B L E 1 . Co rr el at io ns B et we en t he D ig it al M ed ia U se I t e m s a n d t h e C o m m o n Fa ct or s ( C a l i fo r ni a
Civic Survey Panel)
Politics-driven online activities
Used blogs or social networking sites to share or discuss
perspectives on social and political issues
.94 .02 .03
Used e-mail to communicate with others who are working on a
political or social issue
.80 .01 .01
Used the Internet to get information about political or social
.54 .03 .11
Interest-driven online activities
Used the Internet to organize an online group, discussion, or
Web site
.03 .83 .02
Used the Internet to organize social or recreational events
(games, concerts, dances, competitions, etc.)
.12 .70 .17
Given someone you don’t know feedback for something they
wrote or put online
.09 .69 .10
Gone online to participate in a special-interest community,
such as a fan site or a site where you talk with others about
.01 .58 .04
Ihavebeenaleaderinanonlinecommunity .07 .51 .02
Friendship-driven online activities
Used e-mail, text messaging, or instant messenger to
communicate with friends or family
.09 .04 .62
Used blogs, diary, or social networking sites (like MySpace) to
socialize with people (friends, family, or people you’ve met
.07 .06 .55
Principal component eigenvalue (before rotation) 1.22 4.18 1.05
Cronbach’s α .81 .80 .41
Downloaded by [Mills College], [Chris Evans] at 17:56 15 April 2013
Kahne, Lee, and Feezell 7
(e.g., Zukin, Keeter, Andolina, Jenkins, & Della
Carpini, 2006).
“Civic engagement” was measured by asking
how often respondents had (a) volunteered in
their community, (b) raised money for a charita-
ble cause, and (c) informally worked with some-
one or some group to solve a problem in their
community. All three items were administered
at T2 (Cronbach’s α = 0.73); we administered
the first two items at T1 (inter-item r = 0.47).
“Political action and expression” assessed
how often respondents participated in (a) activi-
ties aimed at changing a policy or law at a local
or national level; (b) a peaceful protest, march,
or demonstration; and (c) a poetry slam, youth
forum, musical performance, or other event
where young people express their political views
(Cronbach’s α = 0.66 for T1; α = 0.69 for T2).
“Campaign participation” was measured at
T2 by asking how frequently respondents (a)
tried to persuade anyone to vote for or against
a political party or candidate; (b) wore political
buttons, used bumper stickers, or placed signs
in front of their house during a political cam-
paign; and (c) contributed money to a candidate,
political party, or organization that supported a
candidate (Cronbach’s α = 0.61).
“Voting” was assessed by asking whether
respondents voted in the 2008 presidential elec-
tion. At T1, because most of our respondents
were not eligible to vote, we used intention to
vote as a surrogate measure. As we will see, we
found that an individual’s intention to vote, as
expressed when the individual is a high school
junior or senior, is a strong predictor of voting
when that individual turns 18.
Control Variables
We employed controls to isolate effects
stemming from factors that previously were
found to relate to our outcome variables. These
included sex, ethnic identity, and race (see
Burns, Schlozman, & Verba, 2001), as well
as parental political activity and political dis-
cussion between parents and youth (Niemi &
Sobieszek, 1977). The parental involvement
measure reflected the levels of c ivic and political
talk occurring at home and the level of par-
ents’ involvement in the community (inter-item
r = 0.45).
In addition, we controlled for respondents’
GPAs and whether they were attending four-
year colleges, since educational attainment is
strongly related to voting, group membership,
and civic and political involvement. To account
for factors stemming from political orientation,
we assessed political ideology, ranging from
“very liberal” (1) to “very conservative” (5).
We also created a measure of political interest
and also one indicating the strength of political
ideology. The latter was examined by folding
over the political ideology measure and tak-
ing the absolute value, so our measure ranged
from “middle of the road” (0) to “very liberal or
very conservative” (2) (for related research, see
Mutz & Martin, 2001).
Finally, we included a measure of video game
play, since other studies have found that play-
ing video games may be related to civic out-
comes and is correlated with other forms of
new media participation (Kahne, Middaugh, &
Evans, 2008).
Analytic Strategy
To take a full advantage of our panel data,
we used lagged-dependent variable regression
analysis that included prior values of the out-
come variable as independent controls. The
lagged-dependent variable model predicts the
level of a given outcome at T2 while control-
ling for its value at T1. It provides unbiased
estimates of the effects of digital media par-
ticipation on civic and political engagement by
adjusting any initial differences in the outcome
variables that might exist between individuals
who were already active in high school and those
who were not (Finkel, 1995; Halaby, 2004).
Moreover, simulation studies confirmed that in
most situations, the lagged-dependent variable
approach produces estimates superior to any
available alternative approaches (Keele & Kelly,
2006). We did not have a T1 value for campaign
participation, so we could not include a lagged-
outcome variable to predict this outcome.
Our research question and hypotheses con-
cerned the relationships of three different types
of new media participation (politics-driven,
Downloaded by [Mills College], [Chris Evans] at 17:56 15 April 2013
interest-driven, and friendship-driven) with var-
ied civic and political outcomes. To estimate
unique contributions of each type of online
participatory culture to civic and/or political
engagement, all the variables representing these
three types of new media participation were
entered together in the regression equations. The
lagged values of each outcome variable were
entered as an additional control.
As shown in Table 2, the first and clear-
est finding is that the lagged outcome variables
that were measured at T1 were strong and
consistent predictors of the outcome variable
at T2 for all outcomes in both datasets (p <
.001). How active one was at T1 was a solid
predictor of how active one would be at T2.
The strength and consistency of these relation-
ships underscores the need for panel designs
so that one can control for the sizable relation-
ship between prior and present commitments
and activities.
The analysis also indicates that differing
forms of online activity are associated with
growth in different civic and political out-
comes. We obtained only mixed support for our
hypothesis that politics-driven online participa-
tion would foster civic and political engagement
(see Table 2). Even with a wide range of controls
and inclusion of a lagged value of the outcome
variable, we observed that politics-driven partic-
ipation was associated with increased levels of
political action and expression (β = 0.38, p <
.001) and with increased campaign participation
(β = 0.42, p < .001). However, politics-driven
participation was found to be unassociated with
civic engagement and voting rates.
TA B L E 2 . Re su lt s of R eg re ss io n M od el s Pr ed ic ti ng C iv ic a nd Po li ti ca l O u t c o m e s w i t h L a g g e d
Controls (California Civic Survey Panel)
Political action and
Voting in
Control variables
Female sex .00 .02 .06 .12
GPA in high school .06 .02 .00 .10
Parental involvement .13
.03 .03 .08
Conservatism .01 .03 .05 .08
Strength of political ideology .01 .03 .11
College student .08 .02 .02 .17
African American .06 .04 .12
Hispanic .05 .05 .03 .06
Asian .08 .04 .08 .05
Political interest .03 .03 .14
Frequency of video gaming .08 .11
Lagged values of outcomes
Civic participation, T1 .28
Political action and expression, T1 .22
Voting intention, T1 .28
New media participation
Politics-driven participation .10 .38
Interest-driven participation 19
Friendship-driven participation:
Use of e-mail/messaging .08 .00 .00 .12
Use of social media .08 .00 .01 .06
(%) 31.6 36.4 37.8 21.2
N 321 321 423 417
Standardized ordinary least squares regression coefficients.
Standardized logistic regression estimates.
McFadden’s pseudo R
p .05.
p .01.
p .001.
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Kahne, Lee, and Feezell 9
Our results provided relatively strong support
for our second hypothesis that interest-driven
online participation would foster civic and polit-
ical engagement. In contrast to politics-driven
participation, interest-driven participation was
related to a boost in civic engagement (β =
0.19, p < .01). In addition, interest-driven par-
ticipation was also related to political action
and expression (β = 0.13, p < .05) and cam-
paign participation (β = 0.12, p < .05). While
related to these forms of activity, interest-driven
participation failed to predict voting.
Finally, we observed very little support
for our hypothesis that friendship-driven
participation would promote civic or political
engagement. Indeed, our two measures of
friendship-driven participation appeared to
be less consequential than interest-driven and
politics-driven participation. The use of blogs
and social media to communicate with family
and friends was unrelated to all civic and
political outcomes. Friendship-driven use of
e-mail and messaging was also unrelated to our
measures of civic engagement, political action
and expression, and campaign participation.
Interestingly, friendship-driven use of e-mail
and messaging was the only online practice we
found to be related to voting (β = 0.12, p < .05).
Although the CCS study employed a panel
design, it was based on a nonprobability sample
of high school students residing in California.
To provide more robust tests of our hypothe-
ses, we analyzed additional panel data col-
lected from a nationally representative sample of
young adults.
This second study was conducted as part
of the MCPCE Project at the University of
Chicago. Prior to administration of the third
wave of this panel survey, we were given the
opportunity to add items to the survey so that we
could assess the generalizability and consistency
of our findings from the CCS. The MCPCE
Project was a nationally representative survey,
and data were collected via a sophisticated We b
survey protocol administered by Knowledge
Networks. Knowledge Networks recruited panel
respondents using random digit dialing (RDD)
and provided them with access to the Internet
and hardware if needed. Unlike most online sur-
veys, which cover only individuals with Internet
access, the MCPCE panel was not limited to
current Web users or computer owners.
Our analysis drew on the first and third
waves of the MCPCE Project. The first wave
was conducted just prior to the 2008 election
(October 17–November 3, 2008) and included
3,181 completed responses, with a completion
rate of 56.9%. The third wave was admin-
istered roughly a year later (November 24,
2009–January 19, 2010) and collected
1,938 completed responses, which repre-
sent a panel retention rate of 60.9% against the
first wave. Because we are primarily interested
in new media participation among young adults,
we limited our analysis to the panel respondents
ages 18–35 (n = 586).
Unlike the CCS, the MCPCE Project was a
nationally representative survey and included an
oversampling of African American, Latino, and
Asian respondents. This makes it a particularly
valuable complement to the CCS study, as it
is a more diverse and nationally representative
In addition, the MCPCE had a measure
of campaign participation at T1, which the CCS
did not, so this survey strengthens our under-
standing of the relationships between new media
participation and that outcome.
We employed survey items in an analysis of
the MCPCE data that aligned with those used
when we analyzed the CCS data (see Appendix
New Media Participation
We assessed politics-driven participation with
three yes/no items asking whether the respon-
dents had (a) written or forwarded an e-mail,
Downloaded by [Mills College], [Chris Evans] at 17:56 15 April 2013
signed an e-mail petition, or posted a com-
ment to a blog about a political issue, can-
didate, elected official, or political party; (b)
written a blog about a political issue, candi-
date, elected official, or political party; or (c)
e-mailed the editor of a newspaper, a televi-
sion station, a magazine, or a Web site man-
ager about a political issue, candidate, political
party, or e lected official. We counted the num-
ber of “yes” responses to these three questions
to construct a summary measurement of politics-
driven participation (Kuder–Richardson formula
20 [KR-20] = 0.55).
We used the same measures in the MCPCE
study to assess interest-driven participation as
those used in the CCS study (Cronbach’s α =
0.70). Both interest-driven and politics-driven
participation were assessed in the third wave
of the MCPCE Project. Because of space con-
straints, we were not able to assess friendship-
driven participation in the MCPCE Project.
Exploratory-factor analysis indicated that the
items of online participation formed two dis-
tinct factors that, together, explained 54.1% of
the variance.
Outcome Variables
Of the four outcome variables we employed
in the CCS study, two were available in the
MCPCE study: civic engagement and campaign
participation. “Civic engagement” was mea-
sured by two items asking whether respondents
had volunteered and if they had worked with
community members on a community issue or
problem (inter-item r = 0.38 for the first wave;
r = 0.44 for the third wave). “Campaign partic-
ipation” was assessed with three items: (a) con-
tributing money to a candidate, political party,
or cause; (b) volunteering for a party, cause, or
elected official; and (c) going to political meet-
ings, rallies, speeches, or dinners in support of
a particular candidate, political party, or elected
official (KR-20 = 0.69 for the first wave; KR-20
= 0.74 for the third wave).
Control Variables
Similar to the CCS study, we controlled for
sex, income, race, education (i.e., highest degree
received), political ideology (conservatism), and
strength of partisanship. We included Internet
access at home as an additional control.
Similar to the CCS data analysis, we used
lagged-dependent variable regression models to
examine the effects of new media participation
on civic and political engagement. Our find-
ings are largely consistent with those from the
CCS analysis. As summarized in Table 3, the
lagged-outcome variables that were measured in
the first wave were strong and consistent pre-
dictors of the corresponding outcome variables
in the third wave. Also paralleling results from
the CCS data, politics-driven participation was
significantly associated with campaign partici-
pation (β = 0.49, p < .001) but not with civic
TA B L E 3 . Re su lt s of O rd er ed L og is ti c
Regression Models Predicting Civic and
Campaign Participation (Mobilization, Change,
and Political and Civic Engagement Panel)
Control variables
Age .05 .14
Female sex .06 .13
Education .08 .03
Household income .03 .05
African American .04 .12
Hispanic .05 .12
Asian .00 .01
Conservatism .21
Strength of partisanship .02 .02
Internet access at home .06 .06
Lagged values of outcomes
Civic participation, T1 .50
Campaign participation, T1 .24
New media participation
Politics-driven participation .05 .49
Interest-driven participation .16
(%) 38.2 52.6
N 530 531
sion coefficients, unless otherwise indicated. Outcome vari-
ables were measured in 2009. T1, initial baseline survey,
conducted in 2008.
Standardized ordinary least squares regression coeffi-
p .05.
p .01.
p .001.
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Kahne, Lee, and Feezell 11
More importantly, interest-driven participa-
tion was a robust predictor of increased civic
engagement (β = 0.16, p < .001), but it did not
have a statistically significant relationship with
campaign participation. These findings parallel
those from the CCS data, which reinforces our
confidence in the results. Indeed, the sizes of the
standardized regression coefficients were quite
similar (.19 and .16 for civic engagement, and
.12 and .09 for campaign participation, respec-
tively). The one difference is that the relation-
ship between interest-driven participation and
campaign participation was statistically signif-
icant in the CCS data but not in the MCPCE
data. We place more confidence in the find-
ings regarding campaign participation from the
MCPCE data, because we were able to include
a lagged value of campaign participation in
that regression but not in the CCS analysis of
campaign participation.
Thus, in each case there was mixed sup-
port for our hypotheses that online participation
would foster civic and political engagement.
Interest-driven participation was associated with
more civic engagement but not political engage-
ment, and politics-driven online participation
was associated with more political engagement
but not civic engagement.
Some pundits still make broad claims about
the impact of the Internet on society. Most
scholars who study the relationship between
the Internet and democracy, however, focus on
identifying consequential distinctions between
varied forms of online activity. This study
contributes to that dialogue. First, it identi-
fies survey measures that distinguish between
three forms of online participatory culture:
politics-driven, interest-driven, and friendship-
driven participation. It then considers how these
forms of participation relate to varied forms of
civic and political activity. Overall, our results
strongly suggest that the nature of online par-
ticipation matters and that different kinds of
online participation are associated with differ-
ent kinds of civic and political activity, such as
volunteering, political expression, and voting.
The Importance of Politics-Driven
Findings from this study are consistent with
our hypothesis indicating that politics-driven
online participation promotes other forms of
civic and political engagement. The fact that
our study employed two large panels deepens
our confidence in these relationships. Indeed,
politics-driven online participation appears to
be an important bridge to some forms of civic
and political engagement—it is associated with
higher levels of offline political action and
expression as well as campaign participation,
even with controls in place for prior levels of
those activities. Moreover, more and more civic
and political life occurs online. Core political
practices such as reading the news, contributing
to campaigns, signing petitions, sharing per-
spectives, mobilizing others, and being recruited
by others to act now often occur over online plat-
forms (Cohen et al., 2012; Smith et al., 2009).
Thus, politically driven online participation is an
important form of participation in its own right.
At the same time, these findings signal a
need for caution. Politics-driven participation
may help to promote campaign participation and
varied forms of political action and expression,
but it is not associated with all civic or political
outcomes. Once other forms of online activ-
ity and lagged values of outcome variables are
included, politics-driven participation does not
appear to influence either civic engagement or
voting. In addition, it seems quite plausible that
politics-driven online participation is a product
of campaign work, to at least as great a degree as
it activates engagement with civic and political
life. Thus, while politics-driven online participa-
tion is clearly worthy of attention, these findings
indicate that it should not be seen as the only
relevant bridge from online activity to civic and
political engagement.
The Importance of Interest-Driven
Our findings are also consistent with our
hypothesis that interest-driven participation pro-
motes civic and political engagement. Indeed,
given that most prior studies of nonpolitical
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online activity have not focused specifically on
interest-driven activities, we view the strong
relationships that we found to be our most
significant finding. Our analysis suggests that
involvement in online, nonpolitical, interest-
driven activities serves as a gateway to important
aspects of civic and, at times, political, life,
including volunteering, engagement in com-
munity problem solving, protest activities, and
political voice. At times, this bridge is due to
individuals acting civically or politically in sup-
port of their particular “nonpolitical” interest
(e.g., when online fan networks mobilize in
support of a favorite TV show or character).
Indeed, the distinction between interest-driven
and politics-driven actions, while analytically
valuable, may not always be as clean as one
might like. Interest-driven activities often moti-
vate or in volve civic or political activity tied
to that interest. In other cases, the link may be
less direct. Drawing on the civic volunteerism
model, we propose that through online nonpolit-
ical participatory activities, individuals develop
capacities for action and learn about issues they
find compelling. Their participation in these net-
worked communities may also facilitate their
recruitment into civic and political life. As we
discuss below, studies that further conceptual-
ize and test these or alternative propositions are
What’s clear is that these relationships are
robust. Statistically significant findings remain
for both datasets, even with controls for prior
levels of civic and political engagement and a
full range of demographic variables. In addi-
tion, given the significance of politics-driven
online participation for varied forms of activity,
we view the strong connection between interest-
driven participation and higher levels of politics-
driven online activity as particularly important.
In fact, in the regression predicting online polit-
ical engagement, at T2, the standardized beta
for interest-driven activity (.42) was greater than
the lagged value at T1 of online politics-driven
participation (.33).
The significance of nonpolitical, interest-
driven online activity also leads us to argue
that those studying new media’s influence on
civic and political engagement among youth
and young adults must broaden their focus
and attend to nonpolitical, interest-driven online
participation. Currently, many studies of the
Internet and political engagement focus either
solely on politics-driven forms of online par-
ticipation or they group forms of nonpolitical
engagement together under a heading such as
“use of social media.” While such studies can
teach us a great deal, they also likely miss much
that matters.
The Importance of Friendship-Driven
The importance of disaggregating varied
forms of nonpolitical online participation
becomes all the more clear in light of our
findings regarding friendship-driven online
participation. We hypothesized that these
activities would also promote civic and political
engagement. Our findings were inconsistent
with that hypothesis. Specifically, once we con-
trolled for prior levels of our different outcomes
and political interest and included a measure
of interest-driven online participation, we did
not find statistically significant relationships
between either indicator of friendship-driven
participation and our measures of civic or
political engagement, with the exception of
voting (use of e-mail and messaging was related
to voting [β = 0.12], but using social media to
socialize was not).
Due to the newness and prevalence of social
networking among youth and young adults, and
because of the importance of social networks in
civic and political life, some have posited that
social networking might support civic and polit-
ical engagement (Ellisonet al., 2007; Kittilson &
Dalton, 2011; Valenzuela et al., 2009). However,
these studies were cross-sectional, did not con-
trol for political interst, and did not distin-
guish between friendship- and interest-driven
social networking. For example, Valenuela et al.
(2009) measure the intensity of Facebook group
use in a way that does not distinguish between
whether one is primarily socializing with friends
or is engaging with those one does not necesarily
know but who have common intersts.
We found no relationships between
friendship-driven use of blogs or social
networking sites and any civic or political
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Kahne, Lee, and Feezell 13
practice. Friendship-driven use of e-mail and
messaging was related to voting. However,
it was not related to civic activity, political
action or expression, campaign activity, or
politics-driven online activity. Indeed, we
do not see evidence that friendship-driven
activity holds much promise as a support for
civic and political life. Moreover, the fact that
interest-driven activities are much more strongly
and consistently related to civic and political
outcomes, while friendship-driven activities are
not, highlights the need to distinguish between
these two forms of online activity. We suspect
that studies focusing on use of social media, for
example, may obscure important distinctions
between the factors driving engagement with
social media (i.e., friendship-driven, interest-
driven, or politics-driven uses) and thus cloud
interpretation of findings regarding the rela-
tionships between varied forms of participation
using social media and civic and political life.
A difficulty associated with assessing such
relationships should also be noted, however.
Participation in online social networks and
e-mail is now ubiquitous. Thus, our inability
to find relationships may have resulted from a
lack of variation. In addition, our measure of
this concept was confined to two items, and the
impact of friendship-driven participation was
assessed in only one of the two studies. This
limits our confidence in these findings. Studies
that better tap variations in the friendship-driven
practices of youth will aid in the examination of
this issue.
Connecting Online Participatory Culture
with Civic and Political Life
Taken as a whole, these ndings also high-
light the need for a deeper understanding of the
reasons for relationships between online activ-
ity and the civic and political sphere. Clearly,
there are many ways politics-driven online par-
ticipation and political information more gen-
erally can activate civic and political interest
and engagement (see, e.g., Mossberger et al.,
2008). In addition, drawing on work by Jenkins
et al. (2007) and Ito et al. (2009), we have
proposed that online nonpolitical participatory
activities can promote civic outcomes by teach-
ing skills, developing dispositions, and fostering
an appreciation of the potential of collective
action. This idea is also in keeping with a
growing body of research that draws focus on
a range of mediating factors (e.g., knowledge,
reflection, efficacy, and cognitive complexity),
thus channeling influences from various online
activities onto civic and political engagement
(e.g., Cho, Shah, McLeod, McLeod, Scholl, &
Gotlieb, 2008; Jung, Kim, & Gil de Zúñiga,
2011). Studies that further conceptualize and
test these propositions are needed.
In undertaking this work, it will also be valu-
able to consider changes that may be occurring
in youth and young adults’ priorities regarding
civic and political life. Specifically, as noted
earlier, scholars have begun to document a new
emphasis in youth politics and have argued
that the affordances of new media may be a
meaningful factor facilitating change. Youth and
young adults appear to grant greater signifi-
cance to political expression and enact it in ways
that differ from earlier generations—placing less
emphasis, for example, on influencing actions of
elected officials and the state and more emphasis
on lifestyle politics, influencing business prac-
tices through boycotts and buycotts, and expres-
sive acts tied to popular culture (Bennett, 2008;
Dalton, 2008; Zukin et al., 2006).
These kinds of dynamics may help us to
understand some of the relationships we have
observed. For example, the fact that politics-
driven online participation was not related to
civic participation may reflect a service/politics
split whereby youth often view volunteerism
and charity work as an alternative to politics
(Walker, 2000), and, as a result, their interest
in one domain does not lead to activity in
the other. Similarly, the lack of relationship
between interest-driven and politics-driven
activity and voting may reflect the fact that
voting is prompted by many factors and, for
many, by a sense of duty (Campbell, 2006).
Bennett (2008) argues that many youth distin-
guish between actualizing citizenship (which
emphasizes expressive acts) and dutiful citizen-
ship (which emphasizes more traditional and
institutionalized activity such as voting). It may
well be that many forms of interest-driven
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and politics-driven participation align with the
ideals of the actualizing citizen, but not with the
dutiful citizen.
Indeed, many scholars have found that youth
often doubt the efficacy and attractiveness of
formal political life and often are oriented
toward nongovernmental, informal, and small-
scale responses to societal issues (Delgado &
Staples, 2007; Ginwright, 2009). Scholars a lso
find that culturally oriented and consumer-based
protest often occur online and that they often
occur in ways that differ from what social move-
ment models would predict (Earl & Kimport,
The desirability of such changes, if they are
occurring, seems likely to be mixed. On the
one hand, they may well provide mechanisms
for engagement, leadership, audience, and mobi-
lization that traditional institutions rarely grant
to youth. On the other, voicing a different
perspective, Milner (2010) has argued that
“Generations that turn their backs on politics
in favor of individual expression will continue
to find their priorities at the top of society’s
wish list—and at the bottom of the ‘to do’ list”
(p. 5). It is important that future work examines
whether and when these new forms of expres-
sion and action augment or undermine youth
civic and political influence.
Such a shift in politics does not require new
media, but the affordances of new media seem
likely to make changes, such as the empha-
sis on expressive politics, easier to enact and
may also orient youth toward valuing this form
and focus of civic and political life. Indeed,
while the content is generally different, many
nonpolitical, interest-driven practices, such as
organizing online groups, providing leadership
for group efforts, and participating in group
discussions tied to particular interests, paral-
lel the kinds of practices that are employed
in these new forms of civic and political
In addition, part of what makes understand-
ing the developmental and educative potential of
interest-driven and politics-driven online activi-
ties so important is that such studies may help
us to understand the contexts in which the devel-
opment of democratic habits, commitments, and
skills currently occurs.
There is a long tradition in the United States
of viewing democratic development as largely a
product of life within geographically proximate
local communities. As Tocqueville observed in
Democracy in America:
The strength of free peoples resides in
the local community. Local institutions are
to liberty what primary schools are to
science; they put it within the people’s
reach; they teach people to appreciate its
peaceful enjoyment and accustom them to
make use of it. Without local institutions
ment, but it has not got the spirit of liberty.
(Tocqueville, 2000, p. 49)
The notion that geographic proximity and
face-to-face interactions are vital for motiv ating
participation and for developing democratic
habits and skills has been a mainstay of theo-
retical and empirical work on democracy and
what supports it. New media, however, may
be modifying the significance of geography
in this regard. For example, Schragger (2001)
suggested that high levels of mobility, shift-
ing geographic boundaries, and competing fac-
tions within communities require new criteria
for defining local communities with an empha-
sis on defining community by shared inter-
ests rather than geographic proximity. Similarly,
Delli Carpini (2000) concluded that the Internet
is creating communities that are more interest
based than geographically based (see Middaugh
& Kahne, 2009, for a review discussing the sig-
nificance of online localism for youth). Findings
from this study appear consistent with that
While we believe that our study has many
strengths, clearly it also has limitations. One
limitation of this work is its reliance on self-
reports; it would be ideal to collect data on actual
online activity. In addition, while controls for
prior levels of civic and political activity are
helpful, being able to better control for prior
levels of online activity so that we could use
cross-lagged models would further strengthen
our ability to make causal claims. That several
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Kahne, Lee, and Feezell 15
of the outcome measures had factor loadings
below 0.7 is also worth noting. The items used
were common indicators (see, e.g., Zukin et al.,
2006), but because of space constraints on the
survey, some measures were composed of rela-
tively few items, and this may have contributed
to the low factor loadings. These loadings may
also reflect the fact that the scales were addi-
tive measures of broad categories of activity.
Engaging in one activity did not imply having
been involved in any of the other activities. Still,
in future studies, it would clearly be valuable
to include more items in these scales. Similarly,
our measures of politics-driven and friendship-
driven participation could be strengthened by
adding more items, and especially by adding
items that attend to participatory dimensions
of engagement and forms of engagement that
were not prevalent among youth at the time
the survey was designed. For example, were we
designing the survey today we would ask about
whether individuals use Twitter to circulate per-
spectives on politics to those in one’s social
A potential concern regarding our use of
a lagged-dependent variable is also important
to note. Conceptually, our use of a lagged-
dependent variable reflects the belief that the
beneficial effects of new media participation
(such as the development of civically relevant
digital capacities) are not immediate but are
instead realized over time. The first-wave sur-
veys of the CCS were conducted over a three-
year period, from 2005 to 2007, and the second-
wave surveys were conducted immediately after
the 2008 election, so there were different time
lags. To see whether the length of the lag mat-
tered, we added a variable indicating the time
interval between the two waves to the regression
models we used to predict civic and political
outcomes. The variable tied to the time of the
lag was insignificant, and including it did not
affect the significance of other independent vari-
ables. Thus, while our model indicates that a
lagged effect does occur, we do not have evi-
dence that a lag of a particular length is more or
less advantageous.
Despite these limitations, that our analy-
sis yielded consistent results across both panel
datasets, even with a wide range of relevant
controls, gives us greater confidence in the
strength of the relationships between three
forms of online participation and offline youth
activism, as does the fact that the MCPCE
Project is both nationally representative and
contains a sizable oversampling of African
American, Latino, and Asian youth.
Future Work: Assessing the Quality and
Equality of Participatory Practices
While this study examined ways in which
online activity relates to the quantity of civic
and political life, it is important to also exam-
ine ways that digital media might influence the
quality and equality of activity. For example,
given that online participation may influence the
extent to which youth participate civically and
politically, examining the demographic distribu-
tions of these online participatory practices is
clearly important. An interesting finding in this
regard is that Hispanics and African Americans
in the CCS sample were more likely than whites
to take part in politics-driven online activities
(see Table 3). We are cautious when interpret-
ing these data, however, since the sample of
various groups is not necessarily representa-
tive, and the number of African Americans in
the sample is relatively small. In a separate
fact sheet (Lee & Kahne, 2010) that used data
from the MCPCE Project, we analyzed interest-
driven participation of youth and found that,
overall, African American youth had the high-
est rates of interest-driven participation. Future
work should examine the demographic distri-
bution of such practices in greater detail and
also consider whether online participation may
play differing roles for differing demographic
groups, when it comes to civic and political
In addition, from a normative standpoint, it
is important to consider how forms of online
participation relate to the quality as well as the
quantity of civic and political life. For instance,
the Internet provides unprecedented access to
both information and misinformation. We have
more to learn about the quality of news and
information youth encounter online and whether
varied sources provide appropriate depth or con-
text (see Patterson, 2000; Prior, 2003).
Downloaded by [Mills College], [Chris Evans] at 17:56 15 April 2013
In addition, while the Internet makes it easier
than ever for individuals to hear diverse per-
spectives (Rheingold, 2000), it can also facilitate
exposure, primarily to those who share one’s
ideological perspective (Sunstein, 2007). The
importance of such issues is heightened by per-
ceptions of increased partisanship online and
off, by research indicating that individuals tend
to form like-minded groups (Mutz, 2006), and
by data indicating greater geographic cluster-
ing of like-minded citizens (Bishop, 2009). Our
survey addressed some of these concerns by ask-
ing whether, when online, youth were exposed
to views on societal issues that aligned with
their own as well as whether they were exposed
to views on societal issues that were different
than the views they held. We found that many
youth reported not being exposed to any per-
spectives on societal issues (Kahne, Middaugh,
Lee, & Feezell, 2012). However, among those
who reported exposure to others’ views, the vast
majority reported exposure both to views that
aligned with their own and to those that did not.
In addition, the volume of politics-driven and
interest-driven participation was positively asso-
ciated with exposure to diverse perspectives.
In contrast, online friendship-driven participa-
tion had no effect on exposure to either kind of
perspective. While this tells us something about
the views to which one is exposed, it does not
tell us about the quality of cross-cutting inter-
action. Assessing the quality of such interaction
should be a priority of future work.
Participation in interest-dri ven and politics-
driven online activities appears to provide
generative contexts for civic and political
development, roles traditionally played by
geographically proximate communities. While
those interacting in interest-driven and politics-
driven spaces may also encounter one another
offline, it is notable that online activities appear
to prompt both online and offline civic and
political engagement. It also seems clear that
the nature of online and offline activities mat-
ters. Different forms of online participation are
associated with differing forms of civic and
political life. Fine-grained studies are needed to
deepen our understandings of the ways in which
these online participatory communities can cre-
ate locations and mechanisms that shape the
developing civic and political behaviors of youth
and young adults.
1. Although the CCS survey dataset used in this study
is not available to the general public, the authors will pro-
vide access for scholars who are interested in verifying
and replicating the analysis reported in the current study.
Interested readers can request data by contacting the first
author. The MCPCE dataset is available at http://www.
2. Because of this oversampling, we weighted the
sample in the subsequent analysis to adjust sex, race,
education, and family income.
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APPENDIX A. Descriptive Statistics of Key Variables (California Civic Survey Panel)
Variable Mean SD Min Max N
Outcome variables
Civic participation, T2 2.45 0.80 1.00 4.00 435
Civic participation, T1 2.62 0.55 1.00 3.00 326
Political action and expression, T2 1.55 0.68 1.00 4.00 434
Political action and expression, T1 1.59 0.61 1.00 3.00 326
Campaign participation, T2 2.02 0.71 1.00 4.00 435
Voting in 2008, T2 0.68 0.47 0.00 1.00 430
Voting intention, T1 4.38 1.01 1.00 5.00 428
New media participation
Friendship-driven participation
Use of e-mail/messaging 5.70 0.81 1.00 6.00 435
Use of social media 4.87 1.52 1.00 6.00 435
Interest-driven online participation 1.52 1.20 0.00 5.00 435
Politics-driven online participation 3.08 1.41 1.00 6.00 436
Control variables
Female sex 0.62 0.49 0.00 1.00 435
GPA in high school 3.85 0.67 2.00 5.00 428
Parental involvement 3.19 1.12 1.00 5.00 434
Conservatism 2.81 1.08 1.00 5.00 422
Strength of political ideology 0.85 0.70 0.00 2.00 422
College student 0.86 0.35 0.00 1.00 435
African American 0.03 0.18 0.00 1.00 435
Asian 0.27 0.44 0.00 1.00 435
Hispanic 0.27 0.44 0.00 1.00 435
Political interest 3.91 1.04 1.00 5.00 435
Frequency of video gaming 3.29 1.83 1.00 6.00 435
Note. GPA = grade point av erage; T1 = initial baseline survey; T2 = follow-up survey.
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APPENDIX B. Descriptive Statistics of Key Variables (Mobilization, Change,
and Political and Civic Engagement Panel)
Variable Mean SD Min Max N
Outcome variables
Civic participation, T2 0.45 0.69 0.00 2.00 557
Civic participation, T1 0.42 0.66 0.00 2.00 561
Campaign participation, T2 0.16 0.56 0.00 3.00 561
Political action and expression, T1 0.25 0.66 0.00 3.00 561
New media participation
Interest-driven online participation 0.68 0.87 0.00 5.00 556
Politics-driven online participation 0.27 0.60 0.00 3.00 557
Control variables
Age 28.44 4.76 18.00 35.00 561
Female sex 0.64 0.48 0.00 1.00 561
Education 10.51 1.96 2.00 14.00 561
Household income 11.04 4.20 1.00 19.00 561
African American 0.20 0.40 0.00 1.00 561
Hispanic 0.40 0.49 0.00 1.00 561
Asian 0.11 0.32 0.00 1.00 561
Conservatism 3.78 1.44 1.00 7.00 536
Strength of partisanship 1.88 0.92 0.00 3.00 541
Internet access at home 0.80 0.40 0.00 1.00 561
Note. T1 = wave 1 surve y; T2 = wave 3 surve y.
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... Recent studies have demonstrated that online engagement is most popular among younger age groups (Rainie et al., 2012), leading scholars to focus on the development of such behaviour in these cohorts. However, the evidence is limited to a restricted number of countries, using samples from young adults or speci c groups of adolescents (i.e., college students) (Ekström & Shehata, 2017;Kahne et al., 2013;Keating & Melis, 2017;Vromen et al., 2016;Xenos et al., 2014). It remains essential to expand research regarding the context in which online political engagement is studied to come to a better understanding of who engages in this emerging form of political action. ...
... Research has indicated that these actions blend with more traditional forms of participation and should not be investigated as a distinct mode of action (Gibson & Cantijoch, 2013). Other researchers have concentrated on the mobilization e ect of online activities, looking at the e ects of social media use on o ine political behaviour, such as activism or voting (Boulianne, 2009;Gil de Zúñiga et al., 2012;Kahne et al., 2013;Kim et al., 2017;eocharis & Quintelier, 2016;Valeriani & Vaccari, 2016). Social media are specially used for news consumption and socializing but they can be instigators of other for non-conventional forms of participation, like protest . ...
... However, the results are limited in scope. Existing studies use a speci c group of citizens, like university students, focus on the United States, or discuss results in a limited set of countries using various age groups (Carlisle & Patton, 2013;Rains & Brunner, 2015;Feezell, 2016;Conroy et al., 2012;Kahne et al., 2013;Smith, 2013;Xenos et al., 2014;Valeriani & Vaccari, 2016;Ekström & Shehata, 2018). A comprehensive and comparative study of the online political behaviour of adolescents is still scarce. ...
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... Six items were used to assess adolescents' in-person (e.g., "Participate in a peaceful protest, march, or demonstration") and online (e.g., "Sign an online or email petition about a political or social issue") political action (Kahne et al., 2013). Adolescents rated how often they engaged in each activity since the COVID-19 pandemic using a 5-point scale (1 = never to 5 = very often). ...
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... Kanhe, Lee, and Feezell (2013) described the characteristic of current changing political participation as in the forms of informal, non-institutionalized, non-hierarchical online networks. ...
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... The process that leads to social change in internet-based mass media is the mobilization of effects on content. Activities mobilize the effects of using social media during election campaigns based on activities that voters perform on these platforms, such as publishing, sharing, or discussion content (Holt et al., 2013;Kahne et al., 2013). This activity requires media users, especially women, to have digital literacy skills. ...
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The position of equality in political rights is still being studied seriously and is full of pros and cons in various countries. Straightening the role of women's rights in politics is extensive homework for this nation. Even in today's conditions, the representation of women in the political sphere at the beginning of the struggle was unacceptable to male politicians and the public. The literature review aims to rethink the relationship between women's political rights, digital safety skills, and general elections. All three have a common thread for measuring the existence of women in the political realm. This condition can be seen from the role of women as political actors who run for office, as well as women as owners of voting rights in general elections. Both can be viewed as subjects and objects in general elections to restore the spirit of democracy in Indonesia. The answer to the above problems is establishing digital safety as a digital literacy ecology. The need for this condition refers to women's political struggle to get crucial political affirmation.
... Students' civic engagement using digital technologies: The importance of social media has risen greatly over the past years (Banaji & Buckingham, 2013;Kahne et al., 2014;Mihailidis, 2011;Rainie et al., 2012;Segerberg & Bennett, 2011) and research suggests a potential enhancement of civic participation among people when content is interactive (for example, via chat rooms or message boards) instead of the one-way communication of more traditional media (Bachen et al., 2008;Kahne et al., 2012). The ICCS 2016 student questionnaire included items that measured the extent to which students engaged with political and social issues via social media. ...
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The paper deals with the issue of homelessness in the context of the application of location-based services in urban spaces. Using a walkthrough method, the article compares two applications that allow citizens to report the presence of homeless persons. In doing so, it discusses the use of mobile applications to address the issue of homeless people and the potential benefits and disadvantages of such applications. The paper also emphasized the need to critically examine the power relations that shape the use of locative media to address homelessness. It also highlights the unequal access to appified culture, which particularly affects the homeless. The article suggests the need for a broader discussion and identification of various aspects of the use of location media in the context of homelessness.
The changing dynamics of the mass media world, especially social media, demand a specific and systematic approach to managing and leveraging it. Social media are now widely used without having time to wait for the launch event or the appropriate time frame to be introduced. The benefits are of course wide and very fast access to all over the world and arguably without cost burden. In many countries, political dynamism occurs as times change, and the mechanisms of communication and the approach to relationships are also different. Politics and social media complement each other, politicians who do not use social media consistently are bound to drop out or lose influence and popularity. Popularity on social media is already an individual’s priority, in any profession, meaning politics is directly linked to influence and strongly connected with popularity. Young people are a group that is vulnerable to these latest technological trends and makes up a large percentage of the total electorate. In addition, the expenses and focus given to social media are a necessity. The evolution of its development is moving fast as each group pursues popularity to gain influence. Good and bad something is no longer an advantage otherwise popularity can dictate everything. A study of the model of user relations with politics on social media will help a party or politician to gain more confidence and strategize in the challenges of a new political world. The study will be conducted using the positivism approach, a research design based on the quantitative research of the Hypothetico-Deductive Method.KeywordsPolitical EngagementSocial MediaInfluencePopularity
The banking industry performs credit score analysis as an efficient credit risk assessment method to determine a customer’s creditworthiness. In the banking industry, machine learning could be used for a variety of uses involving data analysis. A method of data analysis that is capable of self-regulation has been made possible by the development of modern techniques, such as classification approaches. The classification method is a form of supervised learning in which the computer acquires knowledge from the provided input data and then utilizes it to classify the dataset, which is used for training purposes. This study presents a comparative analysis of the various machine learning algorithms that are utilized to evaluate credit risk. The methods are used by utilizing the German Credit dataset that was collected from Kaggle, which consists of 1,000 instances and 11 attributes, all of which are used to determine if transactions are good or bad. The findings of data analysis using Logistic Regression, Linear Discriminant Analysis, Gaussian Naive Bayes, K-Nearest Neighbors Classifier, Decision Tree Classifier, Support Vector Machines, and Random Forest are compared and contrasted in this study. The findings demonstrated that the Random Forest algorithm forecasted credit risk effectively.KeywordsCredit RiskBankingMachine LearningPredictionFeatures
The increasing adoption of social media across Africa has raised hopes that they represent a new locus of youth political agency. However, as social media has become more ubiquitous, so has its control by African regimes. How do these controls affect young people’s use of social media for information? This article approaches online controls based on how overt – that is, visible and directly experienced by citizens – they are. It shows that overt forms of controls, such as social media shutdowns, are associated with a higher informational use of social media. Surprisingly, the association is stronger for older citizens. The article makes two important contributions. First, it points to the need for research to develop a better understanding of citizens’ perception of online controls. Second, its findings show that theories of youth citizenship should include the comparative group – older citizens.
There have been many strategies geared towards promoting significant active participation of women and youth in electoral processes and politics in Africa. These include, but are not limited to, strong advocacy by civil society activists for the establishment and implementation of proper legal frameworks, together with active media engagement in promoting youth and women involvement in political processes, among others. This chapter illuminates how women and youth have been marginalized during elections. It also points out efforts to ensure the gap is narrowed in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and South Africa.
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An examination of young people's everyday new media practices—including video-game playing, text-messaging, digital media production, and social media use. Conventional wisdom about young people's use of digital technology often equates generational identity with technology identity: today's teens seem constantly plugged in to video games, social networking sites, and text messaging. Yet there is little actual research that investigates the intricate dynamics of youths' social and recreational use of digital media. Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out fills this gap, reporting on an ambitious three-year ethnographic investigation into how young people are living and learning with new media in varied settings—at home, in after-school programs, and in online spaces. Integrating twenty-three case studies—which include Harry Potter podcasting, video-game playing, music sharing, and online romantic breakups—in a unique collaborative authorship style, Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out is distinctive for its combination of in-depth description of specific group dynamics with conceptual analysis.
This 2003 book assesses the consequences of new information technologies for American democracy in a way that is theoretical and also historically grounded. The author argues that new technologies have produced the fourth in a series of 'information revolutions' in the US, stretching back to the founding. Each of these, he argues, led to important structural changes in politics. After re-interpreting historical American political development from the perspective of evolving characteristics of information and political communications, the author evaluates effects of the Internet and related new media. The analysis shows that the use of new technologies is contributing to 'post-bureaucratic' political organization and fundamental changes in the structure of political interests. The author's conclusions tie together scholarship on parties, interest groups, bureaucracy, collective action, and political behavior with new theory and evidence about politics in the information age.
The authors argue that women gamers, too often ignored as gamers, are in many respects leading the way in this trend towards design, cultural production, new learning communities, and the combination of technical proficiency with emotional and social intelligence. © James Paul Gee and Elisabeth R. Hayes, 2010. All rights reserved.
ABOUT THIS BOOK Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-59) came to America in 1831 to see what a great republic was like. What struck him most was the country's equality of conditions, its democracy. The book he wrote on his return to France, Democracy in America, is both the best ever written on democracy and the best ever written on America. It remains the most often quoted book about the United States, not only because it has something to interest and please everyone, but also because it has something to teach everyone. When it was published in 2000, Harvey Mansfield and Delba Winthrop's new translation of Democracy in America—only the third since the original two-volume work was published in 1835 and 1840—was lauded in all quarters as the finest and most definitive edition of Tocqueville's classic thus far. Mansfield and Winthrop have restored the nuances of Tocqueville's language, with the expressed goal "to convey Tocqueville's thought as he held it rather than to restate it in comparable terms of today." The result is a translation with minimal interpretation, but with impeccable annotations of unfamiliar references and a masterful introduction placing the work and its author in the broader contexts of political philosophy and statesmanship.
An investigation of political disengagement among young people in North America and Europe Despite rising levels of education and mounting calls for increased democratic participation, recent years have seen a significant decline in voter turnout in many countries and the erosion of the sense of civic duty that brought earlier generations to the polls. Henry Milner looks at the United States, Canada, Britain, Scandinavia, and the European Union to probe the decline of youth voting and attentiveness to politics, drawing lessons from observations of institutions, which could break down the wall between political life and "real" life that underlies political abstention among the Internet generation. Finding civic education the key to instilling habits of attentiveness to public affairs, especially among potential political dropouts, Milner sets out a series of ways to bring the issues-and the political parties' stance on them-to the classroom, including visits, simulations, and innovative use of media, old and new.