Participation? I like it! The Impact of Social Digital Media on Political Participation: Evidence from the Brazilian Case

Recent years have seen an increasing scholarly debate on the role of the Internet as a sphere for public political expression and participation. Especially social digital media (SDM) are a phenomenon of interest to many scholars. The capability of SDM to foster democracy enhancing features such civic participation and political information has been discussed by a growing number of political science publications. So far most of research on SDM has focused on user characteristics while our knowledge about how exactly SDM work to fulfil the function of engaging citizens in the democratic process remains fragmentary. To begin bridging this gap, this paper analyses the role of SDM in the context of the Brazilian Ficha Limpa campaign a popular initiative aimed at targeting electoral corruption. We present a preliminary analysis of an ongoing web survey that explores the interaction of citizens use of social media and their offline participation in the context of the campaign. First findings indicate that the impact of SDM has been over rated by existing accounts of this event. Offline sources such as traditional media and personal networks remained most important in creating awareness and providing information about the campaign. Among the available online sources to follow the campaign, respondents preferred relatively conservative forums in which information is generated and distributed in a top-down manner over more novel formats that allow for information to be created and shared in a more interactive and uncontrolled bottom-up fashion.

Presented at:
6th General Conference of the European Consortium for Political Research, Reykjavik, Iceland, August 2527, 2011

 Record created 2014-01-20, last modified 2019-02-13

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