Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Information Science

Content Description

1 online resource (viii, 149 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Jennifer Stromer-Galley

Committee Members

Terrence A Maxwell, Anthony M Cresswell


citizen participation, local geographic context, online communities, political discourse, Online social networks, Political participation, Internet in political campaigns, Internet

Subject Categories

Communication | Journalism Studies | Library and Information Science


From Facebook to Twitter, ordinary citizens' use of social media to discuss, organize, and participate in the political process continues to grow in popularity (Davis, 2005; Rainie, 2005; Kohut, 2008). Researchers interested in this area have explored the demographics, patterns of behavior and motives of participants in online communities (Stromer-Galley, 2002, 2003), the dynamics of the online discussions (Dahlberg, 2001; Davis, 2005; Wilhelm, 2000), the effect of online participation on other forms of political activity (Brunsting, 2002; Kavanaugh & Patterson, 2001), and more recently the relationship between social media and the conventional press (Hiler, 2002; Park, 2004; Cornfield, 2006; Lenhart & Fox, 2006; Schiffer, 2006; Fanselow, 2009). Most research, however, has examined online communities focused on national political communities. This dissertation research contributes to that line of analysis but instead focuses on an online community, the Schenectady Virtual Internet Community (SVC), which is centered on a local geographic setting, Schenectady, NY.