Citizen perceptions of online interactivity and implications for political campaign communication

Jennifer Stromer-Galley, Kirsten A. Foot

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


In this essay we test empirically whether U.S. citizens identify and distinguish between the media and human interaction components of the Internet as suggested by Stromer-Galley (2000). In addition, we explore how citizens understand the role of the Internet in political campaigns, and the role they themselves can play in the campaign process by utilizing the interactive features of Internet applications. To answer these questions, we conducted focus groups in New Hampshire prior to the 2000 presidential primary election. The focus group discussions suggest that citizens perceive the "objective" types of interactivity identified by Stromer-Galley (2000): "media interaction" and "computer-mediated human interaction." Focus group participants viewed political campaign websites as offering expanded opportunities for citizen engagement with the campaigns in comparison to other media, as well as increased citizen control in relation to campaigns. Although the focus group participants noted that the Internet offers increased potential for computer-mediated human interaction between citizens and campaigns and they reported a desire to see such opportunities employed, they expressed understanding of the constraints placed on candidates in the context of political campaigning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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