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ABSTRACT. I draw on a substantial body of theoretical and empirical research on social media use during mass protests, and building my argument by drawing on data collected from Pew Research Center, I performed analyses and made estimates regarding the percentage of social media users who feel that these sites help users get involved with issues that matter to them/bring new voices into the political discussion/help people learn what political candidates are really like very/somewhat well; the percentage of U.S. social media users who say that these sites are very or somewhat important to them personally when it comes to finding others who share their views about important issues/getting involved with issues that are important to them/giving them a venue to express their political opinions; the percentage of U.S. adults who say social media are very/somewhat/not very/not at all important for getting elected officials to pay attention to issue/creating sustained movements for social change/influencing policy decisions; and the percentage of U.S. adults who say social media has possible positive impacts (it helps give a voice to underrepresented groups, it highlights important issues that may not get a lot of attention, and it makes it easier to hold powerful people accountable) and possible negative impacts (it distracts people from issues that are truly important and it makes people think they are making a difference when they really are not). The empirical analysis given in this article shows that social media platforms function as relevant tools for information transfer and the harmonization of shared action.

Keywords: mass protest; social media use; citizen engagement; political participation

How to cite: Letcher, Diana (2018). “Online Political Participation, Collective Action Events, and Meaningful Citizen Engagement: Social Media Use during Mass Protests,” Geopolitics, History, and International Relations 10(2): 70–75.

Received 7 March 2018 • Received in revised form 13 June 2018
Accepted 19 June 2018 • Available online 8 July 2018

doi:10.22381/GHIR10220189

DIANA LETCHER
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Social Science Research Unit
at CLI, Washington, DC

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