Youth Offline Political Participation: Trends and Role of Social Media

Bahtiar Mohamad, Shamsu Abdu Dauda, Haslina Halim


Recently, the growing body of research has waded into the decline of formal political participation and engagement among youth especially voting and party allegiance due to the heightened youth activism such as protests and demonstrations. However, past research proposes that there is a significant relationship between the usage of social media and online political participation among youth. Many of those studies have inordinately relied on college students as samples rather than the entire population of youth with a vast amount of knowledge and experience in. Yet, only few researches have tried to uncover the tendencies of youth participation in formal political activities such as voting and party allegiance via the unprecedented social networking sites such as Facebook to address this issue, the study has employed multiple regression analysis to examine the correlation between use of Facebook, interactivity with politicians, Facebook information quality, political interest and offline political participation among Nigerian youth. This study has shown that Facebook use, interactivity with political figures, Facebook information quality and political interest significantly correlates with offline political participation. Social media allows marginalized youth to interact with friends and political figures, fostering their engagement in political issues, as well as enabling them to share and express their opinions thus draw youth participation in political activities such as voting. Incisively, Facebook serves as a gateway where youth can acquire political knowledge and information. It has become apparent that social media helps to lower the barriers and widen the scope of informal political activities.


Keywords: Political participation, social media, youth, Facebook usage, Nigeria.

Full Text:



Abu Bakar, H., Mohamad, B., & Mustaffa, C. S. (2007). Superior-subordinate communication dimensions and working relationship: Gender preferences in a Malaysian organization. Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, 36(1), 51-69.

Adamu, A. A., Mohamad, B., & Rahman, N. A. A. (2016). Antecedents of internal crisis communication and its consequences on employee performance. International Review of Management and Marketing, 6(7S), 33-41.

Bakker, T. P., & Vreese, C. H. (2011). Good news for the future? Young people, Internet use, and political participation. Communication Research, 38(4), 451.

Brooks, C., Carpini, M. X. D., & Keeter, S. (1997). What Americans know about politics and why it matters. Contemporary Sociology. Yale University Press.

Carlisle, J. E., & Patton, R. C. (2013). Is social media changing how we understand political engagement? An analysis of Facebook and the 2008 presidential election. Political Research Quarterly, 66(4), 883–895.

Cogburn, D. L., & Espinoza-Vasquez, F. K. (2011). From networked nominee to networked nation: Examining the impact of web 2.0 and social media on political participation and civic engagement in the 2008 Obama campaign. Journal of Political Marketing, 10(1-2), 189–213.

Cohen, J., Cohen P., West, S. G., & Aiken, L. S. (2003). Applied multiple regression/ correlation analysis for the behavioural sciences (3rd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Dalton, R. J. (2011). Introduction: The debates over youth participation. Engaging youth in politics: Debating democracy’s future. New York and Amsterdam: International Debate Education Association.

Delli Carpini, M. X. (2000). Youth, civic engagement, and the new information environment. Political Communication, 17(4), 341-349. doi:

Dhaha, I. S. Y., & Igale, A. B. (2013). Facebook usage among Somali youth: A test of uses and gratifications approach. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 3(3), 299–313.

Dong, Q., Toney, J., & Giblin, P. (2010). Social network dependency and intended political participation. Human Communication, 13, 13–27.

Diemer, M. A., & Li, C.-H. (2011). Critical consciousness development and political participation among marginalized youth. Child Development, 82(6), 1815–1833.

Dumitrica, D. (2016). Imagining engagement Youth, social media, and electoral processes. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 22(1), 35-53.

EACEA. (2013). Youth in action: Beneficiaries space 2013. Retrieved from

Farson, H. (2013). What matters? Exploring youth political participation in Western democracies. Canada, Simon Fraser University.

Fjerza, O., Gega, E., & Memaj, F. (2014). Youth political participation in Albania. Journal of Management Cases, 4.

Harris, A., Wyn, J., & Younes, S. (2010). Beyond apathetic or activist youth. Young, 18(1), 9 –32.

Hirzalla, F., Z. L. van & R. de J. (2011). Internet use and political paticipation: reflections on the mobilization/normilization contravocy. The Information Society: An International Journal, 48(1012), 1–15.

Huang, A.-J., Wang, H.-C., & Yuan, C. W. (2014). De-virtualizing social events: Understanding the gap between online and offline participation for event invitations. Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing - CSCW ’14, 436–448.

Jung, N., Kim, Y., & de Zúñiga, H. G. (2011). The mediating role of knowledge and efficacy in the effects of communication on political participation. Mass Communication and Society, 14(4), 407–430.

Kim, B. J., Kavanaugh, A., & Pérez-Quiñones, M. (2007). Toward a model of political participation among young adults: The role of local groups and ICT use. International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV), 205–212.

Ksiazek, T. B., Peer, L., & Lessard, K. (2014). User engagement with online news: Conceptualizing interactivity and exploring the relationship between online news videos and user comments. New Media & Society, 1–19.

Kyranakis, K., & Nurvala, J.-P. (2013). Bringing politics to the youth: How to generate interest in electoral politics. European View, 12(2), 263–269.

Lahabou & and Wok. (2011). Relationship between Facebook usage and youth political participation: A sub-Saharan African context. Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, 1–10.

Lee, S., & Cho, M. (2011). Social media use in a mobile broadband environment : Examination of determinants of Twitter and Facebook use. International Journal of Mobile Marketing, 6(2).

Leung, D. K. K., & Lee, F. L. F. (2014). Cultivating an active online counterpublic: Examining Usage and political impact of Internet alternative media. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 19(3), 340–359.

Marlowe, A. D. (December, 2009). Online social networking effect on political participation, and the digital divide.

Mayfield, A. (2008). What is social media. Networks, 1(4), 36.

Mayoral, J. (2011). Democratic improvements in the European Union under the Lisbon Treaty. Institutional changes regarding democratic government in the EU, European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies. Retrieved from http://www. Eui. Eu/Projets/EUDO-‐Institutions/Documents/EUDOreport922011

Milner, H. (2011). Political dropouts and the Internet generation. In E. Dunkels, G.-M. Franberg, & C. Hallgren (Eds.), Interactive Media Use and Youth: Learning, Knowledge Exchange and Behavior (pp. 186–206).

Moeller, J., de Vreese, C., Esser, F., & Kunz, R. (2014). Pathway to political participation: The influence of online and offline news media on internal efficacy and turnout of first-time voters. American Behavioral Scientist, 58(5), 689–700.

Mohamad, B., Bakar, H., Rageh, A., Halim, H., & Bidin, R. (2016). Corporate identity management in Malaysian higher education sector: Developing a conceptual model. International Review of Management and Marketing, 6(7 Special Issue), 175-180.

Mohamad, B., Rageh, A., & Bidin, R. (2017). Corporate identity management and employee brand support: Enhancing marketisation in higher education sector. Jurnal Komunikasi: Malaysian Journal of Communication, 33(3), 178-195.

Mohamad, B., Bakar, H. A., & Rahman, N. A. A. (2009). Relationship between corporate identity and corporate reputation: A case of a Malaysian higher education sector. Jurnal Manajemen Pemasaran, 2(2).

Muntean, A. (2015). The impact of social media use of political participation. Denmark: Aarhus University.

Norris, P. (2001). Digital divide: Civic engagement, information poverty, and the Internet worldwide. USA: Cambridge University Press.

Odeyemi, T. I., & Mosunmola, O. O. (2015). Stakeholders, ICTs platforms and the 2015 general elections in Nigeria. Paper presented at the Conference National Conference on The 2015 General Elections in Nigeria: The Real Issues, July 27 & 28, 2015, Independent National Electoral Commission, Abuja, Nigeria.

Popkin, S., & Dimock, M. (2000). Knowledge, trust, and international reasoning. In A. Lupia, M. D. McCubbins & S. L. Popkin (Eds.), Elements of reason: Cognition, choice, and the bounds of rationality (pp. 214–238). USA: Cambridge University Press.

Putnam, R. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. New York, US: Simon & Dchuster.

Quintelier, E. (2007). Differences in political participation between young and old people. Contemporary Politics, 13(2), 165–180.

Quintelier, E., & Vissers, S. (2008). The effect of Internet use on political participation an analysis of survey results for 16-year-olds in Belgium. Social Science Computer Review, 26(4), 411–427.

Skoric, M. M., & Kwan, G. (2011). Do Facebook and video games promote political participation among youth? Evidence from Singapore. eJournal of eDemocracy and Open Government, 3(1), 70–79.

Skoric, M. M., & Poor, N. (2013). Youth engagement in Singapore: The interplay of social and traditional media. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 57(2), 187–204.

Smith, A., Schlozman, K. L., Verba, S., & Brady, H. (2009). The Internet and civic engagement. Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2(Retrieved December), 2009.

Smyth, T., & Best, M. (2013). Tweet to trust: Social media and elections in West Africa. ICTD ’13 Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development: Full Papers - Volume 1.

Sormanen, N., & Dutton, W. (2015). The role of social media in societal change: Cases in Finland of fifth estate activity on Facebook. Social Media + Society, 1(2), 1–16.

Tang, G., & Lee, F. L. F. (2013). Facebook use and political participation: The impact of exposure to shared political information, connections with public political actors, and network structural heterogeneity. Social Science Computer Review, 31(6), 763–773.

Ternes, A., Mittelstadt, A., & Towers, I. (2014). Arabian journal of business and using Facebook for political action?. Social Networking Sites and Political Participation of Young Adults, 3(9), 2-16

Theocharis, Y., & Quintelier, E. (2014). Stimulating citizenship or expanding entertainment? The effect of Facebook on adolescent participation. New Media & Society, 1-20

Valenzuela, T. A. (2011). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. Revista Austral de Ciencias Sociales. Austral Social Science Journal, 20, 129-134

Vissers, S., Hooghe, M., Stolle, D., & Maheo, V. -a. (2012). The impact of mobilization media on off-line and online participation: Are mobilization effects medium-specific?. Social Science Computer Review, 30(2), 152–169.

Vitak, J., Zube, P., Smock, A., Carr, C. T., Ellison, N., & Lampe, C. (2011). It’s complicated: Facebook users' political participation in the 2008 election. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 14(3), 107–114.

Wattenberg, M. P. (2012). Is voting for young people?. Harlow, UK: Pearson.

Whiteley, P. (2005). Citizenship education: The political science perspective research report (RR 631). National Foundation for Education Research. Retrieved from

Yamamoto, M., & Kushin, M. J. (2014). More harm than good? Online media use and political disaffection among college students in the 2008 election. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 19(3), 430–445.

Yang, H. C., & DeHart, J. L. (2016). Social media use and online political participation among college students during the US election 2012. Social Media + Society, 2(1), 1–18.

Young, A. L., & Quan-Haase, A. (2009). Information revelation and Internet privacy concerns on social network sites: A case study of Facebook. C&T ’09, 265–274.


  • There are currently no refbacks.