Facebook mobilizes citizen political engagement

Citizen political engagement on Facebook can vary with activity. Isadoropaolo Casteltrione explores how the role of Facebook adapts to the purpose of political information and mobilization. His article, ‘Facebook and political participation: Virtuous circle and participation intermediaries’, published in Interactions: Studies in Communication & Culture, centres on Italy and the United Kingdom. He finds that politically active individuals are more likely to use Facebook for political mobilization, rather than their less active counterparts who tended to use the social networking platform as a site for political information. He examines how activists take advantage of Facebook as a tool for enabling political initiatives, allowing them to communicate, coordinate, and function independently of traditional institutions.

With citizens who are less involved in online and offline political activities, Casteltrione observes that the informative and user-friendly aspect of Facebook can contribute to the lowering of participatory thresholds. The study finds that the activity of participation intermediaries in networks can disseminate political information in less engaged citizen users, thereby enabling a virtuous circle, and potentially, generating a mobilization effect in the long term.

Isadoropaolo Casteltrione is Lecturer at the Media, Communication & Performing Arts department at Queen Margaret University. Recently, he served as research administrator/assistant in the AlcoLOLs project, facilitating dialogue on issues of alcohol safety with youth across a number of Edinburgh high schools.

Photo: mikegi/Flickr/cc

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