This study is the first to examine the possibility that formal civics training provides a foundation for civic engagement that is conducive to the use of novel methods of engaging the polity. The study found that each step toward greater interactivity in civics instruction predicted greater use of social media in the 2008 elections. Findings also showed that those with civics training were two times more likely to use social media than those without. Extracurricular activities were not found to narrow the gap. Unless extracurricular activities specifically focused on political engagement, such as debate and volunteering for a campaign, they were not found to predict social networking activity in the 2008 election.
Suzanne Soule- Center for Civic Education
Jennifer Nairne- Center for Civic Education
Rebecca Chalif- Georgetown University
Kate House- Georgetown University
Michael Davidson- Georgetown University
Owen, Diana, Suzanne Soule, Jennifer Nairne, Rebecca Chalif, Kate House and Michael Davidson. 2011. “Civic Education and Social Media Use,” Electronic Media & Politics, 1 (1): 1-28.
2010 Version Paper prepared for presentation at the Annual Political Communication Preconference of the Political Communication Section, American Political Science Association, September 1, 2010, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.