Social media have come to form an inherent part of most activist campaigns today. Yet, their potentialto foster political participation and mobilization remains debated. While cyber-utopians insist on thepositive contribution of social online-activism to participatory democracy, supporters of the "slactivism”argument dismiss it as a hedonist activity that carries little societal benefit. Our analysis of theBrazilian anti-corruption campaign Ficha Limpa picks up on this debate. We present original surveydata concerning citizens’ use of social media and their offline participation in the context of thiscampaign. Using a binary logit model that estimates the relation between the use of differentcommunication features supported by social media and contacting elected officials, we show thatonline activities involving relatively high transaction costs in terms of time and effort contribute morepositively toward offline participation than simple single-click activities. Our findings indicate that thechoice of appropriate social media formats may be a decisive element for the success of campaignerswho seek to mobilize citizens via the Internet.
via stephanie wojcik