Recruitment Gone Digital?: Analyzing the Effects of Social Media Usage on Civic Engagement

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 16:15
Oral Presentation
Shelley BOULIANNE, MacEwan University, Canada
Joshua ARMSTRONG, York University, Canada
The non-profit sector is a huge economic sector that relies on citizen’s charitable donations and volunteer hours to survive. This study asks: how have community groups used social media to engage citizens and what are the effects of social media use on civic engagement? This study addresses a clear research gap in the study of social media effects, as determined by recently published meta-analysis and literature synthesis (Boulianne 2017; Stoycheff et al. 2017). The study is unique in combining an analysis of seven community organizations’ twitter usage with a large, random digit dialing survey (n=1200). Interactions with community social media pages have a consistent and significant positive correlation with donating as well as volunteering. However, the call to action to volunteer, donate or help are relatively rare in Twitter communication (n=5500). While social media use is positively associated with donating and volunteering, civic groups have not fully optimized the potential of social media to engage citizens.