Community matters: How young adults use Facebook to evaluate political candidates

Sara Douglas, Roxanne B. Raine, Misa Maruyama, Bryan Semaan, Scott P. Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


With the arrival of television, voters began to care not only about political candidates' stances on issues, but also about character, as demonstrated by Kennedy's and Nixon's 1960 debate. In the current qualitative study, we investigate how the technologically savvy Millennials form impressions of candidates when they obtain information through social or nonsocial media. We found that Millennials tend to stumble upon political information rather than seek it out, regardless of social media influence. We also found that social (versus nonsocial) media use did increase citizen expectations of candidates. Whereas both social and nonsocial groups appreciated candidate stance on issues and candidate character, those who were exposed to candidates via social media also sought candidate-to-community connection. Interestingly, the generation that has notoriously less physical community interaction, possibly due to social media, tends to emphasize community involvement when evaluating candidates through social media. This finding supports the view that with new media, public value is defined largely by interactions between senior politicians and the public.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-150
Number of pages16
JournalInformation Polity
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Aug 31 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • digital democracy
  • e-citizenship
  • e-participation
  • Millennials
  • social media
  • Social networking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Communication
  • Information Systems
  • Public Administration

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