Are young people who join social media protests more likely to protest offline too?

October 17, 2012
© Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

Among adults who use social media such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and blogs for political purposes, 42% are under the age of 30. A case study of the controversial Budget Repair Bill in Wisconsin explored whether young adults who use social media are more likely to engage in offline protests, and the results are published in an article in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

In the article entitled "Killing the Bill Online?: Pathways to Young People's Protest Engagement via Social Media ," Timothy Macafee, University of Wisconsin-Madison, compared the relationship between information-seeking behaviors online versus expressive engagement online (defined as using social media as a "soapbox" to share personal views and political events and issues) and actual participation in .

"Individuals use social media primarily for informational and expressive purposes," Macafee concludes. College students used social media to gain information related to the protests in this case study, but that activity did not affect their offline behavior; whereas, "expressive" political social media use encouraged offline protest participation.

"Using social media for information gathering has quite different implications for real world behavior than does use of social media to express oneself (through blogs, tweets, etc.)," says says Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCIA, Editor-in-Chief of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and , from the Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, CA. "As young people utilize social media for information gathering more than traditional means, such as television or newspapers, those wishing to influence opinion and individual behavior should pay heed."

Explore further: Social media and presidential election: Scientists examine impact of YouTube, MySpace

Related Stories

Internet dependence and gambling addiction are not linked

June 28, 2010

A study of university students found no overlap between those reporting excessive Internet use and those with problem gambling. However, both addictive behaviors are associated with psychological issues such as depression, ...

Online dating scammers looking for money, not love

March 28, 2012

Online romance scams, a new form of cybercrime, is under-reported and increasing, and has victimized an estimated 230,000 people in England, costing them nearly $60 billion a year, according to an article in Cyberpsychology, ...

Journalists 'can't work without social media,' study shows

September 20, 2012

(Phys.org)—More than a quarter of UK journalists are unable to work without social media despite an increasing number of concerns about productivity, privacy and the future of journalism, according to the 2012 social journalist ...

Recommended for you

Earliest evidence of reproduction in a complex organism

August 3, 2015

Researchers led by the University of Cambridge have found the earliest example of reproduction in a complex organism. Their new study has found that some organisms known as rangeomorphs, which lived 565 million years ago, ...

Model shows how surge in wealth inequality may be reversed

July 30, 2015

(Phys.org)—For many Americans, the single biggest problem facing the country is the growing wealth inequality. Based on income tax data, wealth inequality in the US has steadily increased since the mid-1980s, with the top ...

French teen finds 560,000 year-old tooth (Update)

July 28, 2015

A 16-year-old French volunteer archaeologist has found an adult tooth dating back around 560,000 years in southwestern France, in what researchers hailed as a "major discovery" Tuesday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.