Social media and citizen engagement: A meta-analytic review

November 26, 2015 by Marko M. Skoric, Qinfeng Zhu, Debbie Goh, Natalie Pang

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This meta-analytic study reviews empirical research published from 2007 to 2013 with an aim of providing robust conclusions about the relationship between social media use and citizen engagement. It includes 22 studies that used self-reported measures of social media use and participation, with a total of 116 relationships/effects. The results suggest that social media use generally has a positive relationship with engagement and its three sub-categories, that is, social capital, civic engagement, and political participation. More specifically, we find small-to-medium size positive relationships between expressive, informational, and relational uses of social media and the above indicators of citizen engagement. For identity- and entertainment-oriented uses of social media, our analyses find little evidence supporting their relationship with citizen engagement.