Political Participation and Engagement via Different Online and Offline Channels: The Effects of Social Media
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This paper explores how political participation and engagement via social media may affect political participation and engagement offline and via other online channels, drawing from the exchange concept in marketing theory. Social media political participation and engagement is distinguished from other online activities, as the latter is restricted to users already involved in politics, as opposed to social media, which even allow users not involved in politics to be exposed to political messages. This study takes place within the context of Greece, characterised by the financial crisis. An exploratory quantitative methodology, employing a self-administered questionnaire (N=215 online users) was adopted. Results suggest that users who engage in politics, whether this is through social media or other online or offline activities, are more likely to participate politically in more than one form of political engagement. Social media usage intensity was positively associated with social media political participation, while favourable perceptions about politicians who use social media was associated with higher online participation activities among users. Gender was a significant factor for other online political engagement, while age was a significant factor for offline political engagement. Interestingly, the high perceived stress resulting from the financial crisis was not associated with any form of political engagement.