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Tweeting to PowerThe Social Media Revolution in American Politics$
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Jason Gainous and Kevin M. Wagner

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199965076

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199965076.001.0001

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Public Opinion 2.0—The New Social Capital

Public Opinion 2.0—The New Social Capital

Chapter:
(p.93) 6 Public Opinion 2.0—The New Social Capital
Source:
Tweeting to Power
Author(s):

Jason Gainous

Kevin M. Wagner

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199965076.003.0006

This chapter addresses whether the use of online social media can stimulate political participation and activity in civic groups outside the Internet. Building on the theory that social capital is generated through the interaction between people in groups, this chapter looks not only at the link between online social media and political participation but also at the potential for the online engagement to affect offline group activity. Using empirical measures, the chapter shows that the power of the social media translates to more traditional forms of political participation, presenting opportunities for political actors to benefit electorally if they can effectively campaign using online social media. Different strategies for politicians are explored, including influencing the content and tone of the information, and using the reach of networks of like-minded followers across social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

Keywords:   political participation, social capital, Congress, Facebook, social networks

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