Social media use and participation: a meta-analysis of current research
social media, social networking, politics, social movements, research methodology
Social media have skyrocketed to popularity in the past few years. The Arab Spring in 2011 as well as the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns have fuelled interest in how social media might affect citizens’ participation in civic and political life. In response, researchers have produced 36 studies assessing the relationship between social media use and participation in civic and political life. This manuscript presents the results of a metaanalysis of research on social media use and participation. Overall, the meta-data demonstrate a positive relationship between social media use and participation. More than 80% of coefficients are positive. However, questions remain about the relationship is causal and transformative. Only half of the coefficients were statistically significant. Studies using panel data are less likely to report positive and statistically significant coefficients between social media use and participation, compared to cross-sectional surveys. The meta-data also suggest that social media use has minimal impact on participation in election campaigns.
Boulianne, Shelley. 2015. "Social Media Use And Participation: A Meta-Analysis Of Current Research." Information, Communication & Society 18.5: 524-538. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2015.1008542.
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