Date of Award

5-2011

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

David Rousseau

Abstract

Social Networking sites have become an integral part of today’s society and have changed the way people communicate with one another. In this paper, I discuss the relationship between Twitter and civic and political engagement among 18-25-year olds. I conducted a survey at the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY Albany) campus to see if there is a relationship between Twitter usage and civic and political engagement. 198 students completed the surveys. The results of my study showed that SUNY Albany students who use Twitter were more political engaged than those students who did not use Twitter and Twitter users were more civically engaged than those who did not have Twitter. My research suggest that a there is a relationship between Twitter and political engagement as well as between Twitter and civic engagement; however no definitive conclusion could be made based on the data. Further analysis shows that, among Twitter users, those who follow politicians and news outlets as well as tweeting about politics and the news were more politically engaged than those Twitter users that did not engage in those activities on Twitter. A relationship between those Twitter activities and political engagement does exist. This research is the first of its kind, but more research into this subject must be done.

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