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Can social network sites facilitate civic engagement? Assessing dynamic relationship between social media and civic activities among young people

Hua Pang (School of New Media and Communication, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China)
Kaiyang Qin (Department of Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Min Ji (Institute of Political Science, University of Münster, Münster, Germany)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 28 May 2021

Abstract

Purpose

The primary goal of this article is to review the existing studies and offer clarity regarding the association between social media adoption and youth civic engagement.

Design/methodology/approach

This research systematically summarizes and reviews 42 original articles published from 2010 to 2019 with an objective of offering insightful results. Additionally, a theoretical framework was carefully designed by adopting various conceptions from citizen participation and computer-mediated communication research literature.

Findings

The findings demonstrate that social media usage could generally have a positive correlation with civic participation among younger generations. Moreover, the result also highlights that certain functional features of social media uses including using social media for news consumption and expression could significantly predict civic engagement.

Originality/value

Despite the ever-growing importance of social media technologies, investigations on their differential, nonlinear and even inconsistent effects on civic engagement remain theoretically ambiguous and empirically unsubstantiated. The study represents one of the first scholarly attempts to review, summarize and analyze the extant research evidence from the past ten years.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Social Science Fund of China (Grant No. 19CXW035).

Citation

Pang, H., Qin, K. and Ji, M. (2021), "Can social network sites facilitate civic engagement? Assessing dynamic relationship between social media and civic activities among young people", Online Information Review, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-10-2020-0453

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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