Self-motivated or mobilised: political participation in the digital age
Authors: Lilleker, D.
Start date: 22 February 2016
This paper explores the patterns of political participation offline and online and, using data from an online survey of UK respondents, seeks to determine the extent that internal motivations (personal gratifications), external motivations (self-efficacy) are factors which influence these patterns. Additionally we determine whether communication via social media from political parties, campaign organisations or friends have a mediating influence on motivations. Our data suggests that there remains a divide between the online and offline spheres of participation, there are also divisions over who participates within each sphere, although the demographic variables are diminishing in their explanatory power. Largely internal motivations, relating to personal feelings have the greatest explanatory power, though external motivations are not insignificant in the offline sphere. However encouragements, particularly from campaign organisations, have a strong mediating effect. Encouragements from friends have a lower impact while political parties appear to struggle to mobilize their supporters reflecting a general trend away from engagement in electoral politics.