Social Media and Political Participation: Are Facebook, Twitter and YouTube Democratizing Our Political Systems?

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This paper presents the results of a literature review in regard to Social Media and participation. Besides that, to understand the meaning and impact of Social Media on elections, we show field results from the 2010 and 2011 elections in the Netherlands. There are several challenges when it comes to engaging people in party politics. The current findings in literature show us that previous efforts to shape public participation with prior Internet tools did not meet expectations. With Social Media this could change, because participation seems to be the key concept that explains the difference between ‘old’ web and ‘new’ Social Media. In the Netherlands, Social Media did not significantly influence voting behaviour during the local elections (2010/2011). But, during the national elections (2010), politicians with higher Social Media engagement got relatively more votes within most political parties. In conclusion, we propose a future research agenda to study how political parties could benefit from Social Media to reinvent and improve the way they work with their members and volunteers.
Original languageUndefined
Title of host publicationElectronic Participation. Third IFIP WG 8.5 International Conference, ePart 2011
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)978-3-642-23332-6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011
Event3rd IFIP WG 8.5 International Conference on Electronic Participation, ePart 2011 - Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 29 Aug 20111 Sept 2011
Conference number: 3

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
PublisherSpringer Verlag
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference3rd IFIP WG 8.5 International Conference on Electronic Participation, ePart 2011
Abbreviated titleePart


  • METIS-278491
  • EWI-23035
  • Elections
  • Participation
  • Politics
  • Social Media
  • Internet
  • IR-84267

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