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youth civic engagement in social media


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Presentation at IADIS conference on civic engagement in social media

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youth civic engagement in social media

  1. 1. DESIGNING FOR YOUTH CIVIC ENGAGEMENT IN SOCIAL MEDIA IADIS INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND WEB BASED COMMUNITIES LISBON , 20.07.12 Petter Bae Brandtzæg SINTEF ICT Oslo, Norway Asbjørn Følstad SINTEF ICT Oslo, Norway Henry Mainsah The Oslo School of Architecture and Design Oslo, Norway
  2. 2. The aims of this study• Define and conceptualize youth civic engagement in social media (literature review).• To identify how youth themselves conceptualize civic engagement and in what way they participate and are motivated in civic issues online (four group interviews, N = 27)• Suggest guidelines on designing for youth civic engagement in social media. 2
  3. 3. How are social media linked to civic engagement ? 3
  4. 4. delTA 5
  5. 5. ”We use Facebook to schedule the protests, Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world.”Source: The Cascading Effects of the Arab Spring
  6. 6. But, can we simply…… ? delTA 7
  7. 7. 8
  8. 8. Is it only a "feel good" engagement? 9
  9. 9. "What we hope will happen is that by just having this simple tool, wethink that people can really help spread awareness of organ donation" Zuckerberg to ABC news May 1. 2012 By Tuesday evening, 100,000 people had declared themselves organ donors on their Facebook profiles, 10
  10. 10. The Facebook event page showed over 21,000 people attending.Millions of tweets from around the world.About 17 people met downtown to put up posters throughout the downtown core, delTA 11
  11. 11. Possibilities ChallengesFree, cheap and effective way to bring “Slactivisme”peoples voice out, to participateMore debate/more people can debate Destructive/nihelistic, thus only some people would like debateFast mobilization /organizing groups Low commitment over timeBring new voices into the public sphere. The active people online are the sameMotivate new people to participate and that are active offline (digital divide). Willget involved in political issues not reach a mass audiencesOnline activity Not offline activity ?Internet activism (political activity online) Replacing traditional political activity (thereby leading to lower level of participation)Easy to set up of Internet campaigns Does internet campaigns have any effect ?Increase awareness of political issues Information overloadDiverse sources of information Fragmentation and echo chambers delTA 12
  12. 12. Why youth?• Young people are crucial agents with regard to peace processes and political stability on a local and global scale (Tufte & Enghel, 2009)• Social media = a new and promising arena for civic engagement• Youth is regarded as being at the forefront of new media uptake (Bennett, 2008; Christensen, 2011; Jenkins et al., 2006; Mongomery et al., 2004). delTA 13
  13. 13. All young people are on Facebook“It’s just that everyone else is onFacebook so you join up yourself"(boy, 17 years)Brandtzæg et al., (2010) 14
  14. 14. More eagerRecent reports (from US and Norway) indicate thatyoung people (15-25 years) are more eagerthan the rest of the population to engage inpolitical and civic activities online (Rainie et al.,2011). 15
  15. 15. But the majority of young people are not active in civic issues online delTA 16
  16. 16. Define and conceptualize civic engagement in social mediaThe elements that constitute civic engagement are constantly evolving and are still open to debate (Youniss et al., 2002), and in particularly with the introduction of the Internet and social media 17
  17. 17. Civic engagement - not only voting or protest actions• EC Report - Unconventional forms of civic engagement will need to be included in order to allow youth a greater margin for such engagement (Forbrig, 2005, p. 67). 18
  18. 18. The study of everything? (Deth, 2001)Voting, members • Voting, members in org. Voingof political parties Contacting officials • Conventional participation - contacting officials etc • Unconventional participation - protest actions Protest actions social movements etc.Social movements Everything that are "social"? Social engagement 19
  19. 19. Proposed definition To avoid an overly broad perspective on youthcivic engagement, we suggest three distinct sets of practices: "Youth action in response to societal needs,in the form of supportive, deliberative, and collaborative practices in social media." 20
  20. 20. delTA 21
  21. 21. The studyHow: Four group interviews (snowball sampling).Who: Young people (N= 27, 12 boys and 15 girls)(M = 18 years, min.15 max.21 years)When: October-November, 2011Where: In Norway (Oslo and around)What: How young people understand civic engagementin social media and which factors motivate suchengagement. 22
  22. 22. Results from interviews Some examples 23
  23. 23. Results• The participants reported not to prioritize reading newspapers or watching the news on TV, as their usage patterns related to both communication and information is getting increasingly Internet oriented.• The participants reported to distance themselves from aspects of formal citizenship, such as political parties and involvement in local governmental political issues, and prefer informal types of engagement within social media which often have higher relatedness and, thus, often are associated with causes initiated by young people. 24
  24. 24. Civic engagement online – a question of context and formality SNSs HIGH News sitesDegree ofengagement Governmental sites LOW Degree of formality HIGH
  25. 25. Informal & flexible• Informal: project-oriented civic engagement is often reflected in flexible and individualized participation• "I want to participate when I have time and when I am motivated, Facebook is therefore a nice way to be engaged. Via Facebook you can manage to follow and engage in different cases when you have spare time" (Girl, 19 years) 26
  26. 26. Peer-oriented• Youth are mainly interested in causes related to other youth and causes defined by the youth (e.g., high relatedness). Attachment to a group is one of the more straightforward reason why people participate online (Porter, 2008)"Young people are interested in other young people" (boy, 16 years). 27
  27. 27. Visibility & self expression• Youth are using signs and pictures to communicate a stance. The level of visibility influences how and to what degree young people are willing to engage. - "People changes their profile picture and add pictures of themselves and their friends all the time" (girl, 18 years). 28
  28. 28. Emotional "Many engage in (civic) activities that aremotivated by feelings rather than real knowledge" (boy, 19 years). 29
  29. 29. Excitement• "Good headlines and good pictures are needed to get our attention" (girl, 17 years). "Young people are fast to get bored" (boy 18 years) 30
  30. 30. Immediate and local "The young people we know are not veryinterested in organizations and memberships, but rather engage in immediate and local needs" (girl, 17 years). 31
  31. 31. "I want fast feedback, so you just dont send an email to your local authorities " (boy, 18 years)Interviewer: What do you mean? "It will probably take ages to get an answer, and if you getan response its probably not understandable" (boy, 18 years) 32
  32. 32. design recommendation1. CONTEXT: Young people participate and use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, because everyone else are there.2. FLEXIBLE: Young people like to be in an informal environment that is, flexible and project-oriented because they have little time.3. UPDATED, Young people are appealed by updated and fresh content and get bored by old content.4. EXCITEMENT: Young people are excited by emotional content, fresh layouts and pictures of other young people (seek to find like-minded). Key words: Colorful, contrasts, music, video clips.5. PEER GROUP: Young people will have more information relevant for their peer group. They would also like to have the opportunity to create and publish their own content.6. CONTROL: Young people wants control over their own information (privacy) and easy to use software. They also want short and easy to understand information so they can achieve improved knowledge and competence about civic issues.7. SHARING: Young people wants to share content because they want to participate by sharing8. VISIBILITY: Young people enjoy visibility and different way of self expression. They want to make use of signs and pictures to communicate a stance.9. FEEDBACK: Young people expect quick responses to their contributions or 33 comments to motivate continued engagement.
  33. 33. Thanks to• The VERDIKT-programme in the Norwegian Research Council• Opinion Perduco• Plan Norway• NRK – Norwegian Broadcasting• EddaMedia/Fredrikstad blad (newspaper)• Kongsvinger kommune (muncipal) 34