The Usual Suspects? Swedish Social Media Users and Political Participation

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceeding


This paper uses data from a 2010 Swedish nationwide survey (done in cooperation with the SOM institute in Gothenburg) in order to study whether citizens who engage in participatory activities, especially signing petitions, while using sites like Facebook share demographic and other features with citizens who are known from previous studies to be more likely to participate in politics.

Does the mere use of social media services such as Facebook lead to new groups of citizens taking part in politics, or do we see a steady interest from the “usual suspects” of political participation research, adding new channels to exert influence? Is there a generational factor at hand, where young people, the “digital natives”, are exchanging old ways of interacting with the political system for “clicktivism” – or is the dichotomy of old and new forms of participation a false one?

This preliminary study shows that for young Swedes, social media is a more popular channel for participating than traditional forms. However, it is also clear that socio-economic factors are still important predictors for participation, online or offline.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science


  • social media, political participation, social network sites
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch
EventECPR 6th General Conference, 2011 - Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 2011 Aug 252011 Aug 27


ConferenceECPR 6th General Conference, 2011
OtherEuropean Consortium for Political Science