The Great Equalizer? Patterns of Social Media Use and Youth Political Engagement in Three Advanced Democracies

Michael A Xenos, Ariadne Vromen, Brian D Loader

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    From the events of the Arab Spring to the occupation of Zuccotti Park, stories of mass protests saturated with the aura of young people's savvy use of social media platforms have produced headlines with growing regularity. It has also become conventional wisdom to attribute US President Barack Obama's initial and later re-election victories to his campaign's deft deployment of social media to mobilize the youth vote. In the USA and other advanced democracies, social media activity is disproportionately concentrated among young people (Australian Communications and Media Authority, Citation2013; Brenner, Citation2013; Woollaston, Citation2013). As a result, there has been an explosive growth in studies examining relationships between social media use and political engagement, sometimes with a specific focus on young people (Bode, Citation2012; Conroy, Feezell, & Guerrero, Citation2012; Gil de Zúñiga, Jung, & Valenzuela, Citation2012; Vitak et al., Citation2011). These developments contribute to a growing popular understanding of social media as a potent tool for moving young people to political engagement.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Networked Young Citizen: Social Media, Political Participation and Civic Engagement
    Editors Brian D. Loader, Ariadne Vromen, Michael Xenos
    Place of PublicationNew York
    PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
    ISBN (Print)978-1-138-01999-7
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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