Digitally Savvy Citizenship: The Role of Internet Skills and Engagement in Young Adults' Political Participation around the 2008 Presidential Election

Eszter Hargittai, Aaron Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Scopus citations

Abstract

Popular narratives assume that digital media play a central role mobilizing voters and especially young adults. Based on unique survey data of a diverse group or young adults from Spring, 2009, we consider the relationship between differentiated internet uses, and online and offline political engagement around the time of the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Thanks to our rich data set, we are able to consider both online and offline activities while taking into consideration more traditional measures. Our findings suggest that online forms of political engagement complement offline engagement. The pathways to young adults' political participation remain relatively stable. We also find an association between Internet skills, social network site usage and greater levels of engagement. These findings imply that although Internet usage alone is unlikely to transform existing patterns in political participation radically, it may facilitate the creation of new pathways for engagement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-134
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media
Volume57
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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