The Influence of Social Networking Sites on Participation in the 2012 Presidential Election

  • Rachel F. Adler
  • William D. Adler
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8029)


Social networking sites are gaining in popularity, and candidates for president have been getting more involved in these online platforms. In order to examine whether a presidential candidate’s presence on social networking sites influences people’s political participation, we conducted a survey asking users a series of questions related to their social networking involvement, political involvement, and political involvement on social networking sites, specifically with regard to the 2012 presidential election. Our results indicate that despite being politically minded, these users do not use Facebook for political reasons and a candidate’s online presence does not influence their decision on how to vote.


Social Networking Sites Elections Facebook 


  1. 1.
    Lenhart, A.: Adults and social network websites. Pew Internet & American Life Project (2009), (retrieved March 1, 2013)
  2. 2.
    Gueorguieva, V.: Voters, MySpace, and YouTube: The impact of alternative communication channels on the 2006 election cycle and beyond. Social Science Computer Review 26(3), 288–300 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Robertson, S.P., Vatrapu, R.K., Medina, R.: Off the wall political discourse: Facebook use in the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. Information Polity: The International Journal of Government & Democracy in the Information Age 15(1/2), 11–31 (2010)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Haynes, A.A., Pitts, B.: Making an impression: New media in the 2008 presidential nomination campaigns. PS: Political Science and Politics 42, 53–58 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Williams, C.B., Gulati, G.J.: Social networks in political campaigns: Facebook and the congressional elections of 2006 and 2008. New Media and Society 15(1), 52–71 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Robertson, S.P., Vatrapu, R.K., Medina, R.: The social life of social networks: Facebook linkage patterns in the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. In: Proceedings of the 10th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research: Social Networks: Making Connections between Citizens, Data and Government, pp. 6–15 (2009)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Swigger, N.: The online citizen: Is social media changing citizens’ beliefs about democratic values? Political Behavior (forthcoming) Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Conroy, M., Feezell, J.T., Guerrero, M.: Facebook and political engagement: A study of online political group membership and offline political engagement. Computers in Human Behavior 28(5), 1535–1546 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Baumgartner, J.C., Morris, J.S.: Myfacetube politics: Social networking web sites and political engagement of young adults. Social Science Computer Review 28(1), 24–44 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Bode, L.: Facebooking it to the polls: A study in online social networking and political behavior. Journal of Information Technology & Politics 9, 352–369 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Vitak, J., Zube, P., Smock, A., Carr, C.T., Ellison, N., Lampe, C.: It’s complicated: Facebook users’ political participation in the 2008 election. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 14(3), 107–114 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Bode, L., Vraga, E., Borah, P., Sha, D.: A new space for political behavior: Political social networking and its democratic consequences. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (forthcoming)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Vesnic-Alujevic, L.: Political participation and web 2.0 in Europe: A case study of Facebook. Public Relations History 38(3), 466–470 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Bond, R.M., Fariss, C.J., Jones, J.J., Kramer, A.I., Marlow, C., Settle, J.E., Fowler, J.H.: A 61-million-person experiment in social influence and political mobilization. Nature 489(7415), 295–298 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Larsson, A.O.: “Rejected bits of program code”: Why notions of “politics 2.0” remain (mostly) unfulfilled. Journal of Information Technology & Politics 10(1), 72–85 (2013)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Farrell, H.: The consequences of the internet for politics. Annual Review of Political Science 15, 35–52 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kushin, M.J., Yamamoto, M.: Did social media really matter? College students’ use of online media and political decision making in the 2008 election. Mass Communication and Society 13(5), 608–630 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel F. Adler
    • 1
  • William D. Adler
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceNortheastern Illinois UniversityChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceJohns Hopkins UniversityMarylandUSA

Personalised recommendations