Measuring the Effects of Social Media Participation on Political Party Communities

  • Robin EffingEmail author
  • Jos van Hillegersberg
  • Theo W. C. Huibers
Part of the Public Administration and Information Technology book series (PAIT, volume 1)


Political parties can potentially benefit from Social Media to shape interactions between their members. This chapter presents the Social Media Participation Model (SMPM), which measures the effects of Social Media Participation on political party communities. As people and politicians increasingly adopt Social Media, measuring the effects of Social Media participation on party communities has become more important. However, a literature review revealed that currently there are few measurement methods. Furthermore, most politicians do not know how to use Social Media effectively. Therefore, we propose the Social Media Participation Model that reflects two concepts: Social Media Participation and Community Participation. To measure Social Media Participation, we developed the Social Media Indicator to assess the Social Media use by politicians. Additionally, we integrate media choice theory to evaluate appropriateness of Social Media for certain tasks and strategies. For measuring Community Participation, we deploy the following two constructs: Community Engagement and Sense of Community. By obtaining results from the Social Media Participation Model, it will be clear which use of Social Media positively influence member participation within political communities. This model is the first step in developing a standardized instrument to explore the impact of Social Media Participation on Community Participation.


Social Medium Political Party Social Network Site Communication Strategy Community Participation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The research projects mentioned in this chapter are initiated, supported, and funded by the School of Creative Technology at Saxion University of Applied Sciences in Enschede.


  1. Blumberg, B., Cooper, D. R. & Schindler, P. S. (2011). Business research methods. Third European Edition, McGraw-Hill Higher Education.Google Scholar
  2. Boyd, D. M., & Ellison, N. B. (2008). Social network sites: definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), 210–230.Google Scholar
  3. Boyd, D. M., & Hargittai, E. (2010). Facebook privacy settings: Who Cares? First Monday, 15(8), 1–22.Google Scholar
  4. Bradley, A. J. & McDonald, M. P. (2011). Social media success is about purpose (not technology), Harvard Business Review. Retrieved November 3, 2011, from
  5. Chavis, D. M., Lee, K. S., & Acosta J. D. (2008). The sense of community (SCI) revised: The reliability and validity of the SCI-2. Paper presented at the 2nd international community psychology conference, Lisboa, Portugal.Google Scholar
  6. Chavis, D. M., & Pretty, G. M. H. (1999). Sense of community: Advances in measurement and application. Journal of Community Psychology, 27(6), 635–642.Google Scholar
  7. Christakis, N. A., & Fowler, J. H. (2009). Connected: The surprising power of our social networks and how they shape our lives. Portsmouth: Little, Brown and Company.Google Scholar
  8. Citron, D. K. (2010). Fulfilling government 2. 0’ s promise with robust privacy protections. Arguendo, The George Washington Law Review, 78(4), 822–845.Google Scholar
  9. Comscore (2011), Nederland wereldwijd nummer 1 in bereik van Twitter en LinkedIn in maart 2011—comScore, Inc. Retrieved November 3, 2011, from
  10. Daft, R. L., & Lengel, R. H. (1986). Organizational information requirements, media richness and structural design. Management Science, 32(5), 554–571.Google Scholar
  11. Effing, R., van Hillegersberg, J., & Huibers, T. (2011). Social media and political participation: Are facebook, twitter and YouTube democratizing our political systems? In E. Tambouris, A. Macintosh, & H. de Bruijn (Eds.), Electronic Participation, Third IFIP WG 9.5 International Conference, Delft, The Netherlands, LNCS Vol. 6847, Springer, 25–35.Google Scholar
  12. Greengard, S. (2009). The first internet president. Communications of the ACM, 52, 16–18.Google Scholar
  13. Grönlund, Å. (2009). ICT is not participation is not democracy—eParticipation development models revisited. ePart 2009 (pp. 12–23).Google Scholar
  14. Howard, P. N., & Hussain, M. M. (2011). The role of digital media. Journal Of Democracy, 22(3), 35–48.Google Scholar
  15. Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media. Business Horizons, (53), 59–68.Google Scholar
  16. Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the Social. Oxford: University Press Oxford.Google Scholar
  17. Lilleker, D. G., Pack, M., & Jackson, N. (2010). Political parties and Web 2.0: The liberal democrat perspective. Political Studies, 30(2), 105–112.Google Scholar
  18. Macintosh, A., & Smith, E. (2002). Citizen participation in public affairs. EGOV 2002, pp. 256–263.Google Scholar
  19. Medaglia, R. (2007). Measuring the diffusion of eParticipation: A survey on Italian local government. Information Polity, 12, 265–280.Google Scholar
  20. McMillan, D. W., & Chavis, D. M. (1986). Sense of community: A definition and theory. Journal of Community Psychology, 14(1), 6–23.Google Scholar
  21. Montero, M. D. (2009). Political e-mobilisation and participation in the election campaigns of Ségolène Royal (2007) and Barack Obama (2008). Quaderns Del Cac, 33(December), 27–34.Google Scholar
  22. Morris, M., & Ogan, C. (1996). The Internet as Mass Medium. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 1(4).Google Scholar
  23. Nielsen, (2011). Webinar: State of social media 2011. Retrieved October 30, 2011, from
  24. Phang, C. W., & Kankanhalli, A. (2008). A framework of ICT exploitation for e-Participation initiatives. Communications of the ACM, 51(12), 128–132.Google Scholar
  25. Ray, A. (2010). The implications of consumers spending more time with facebook than Google. Forrester Blogs. Retrieved November 26, 2010, from
  26. Ren, J., & Meister, H. P. (2010). Drawing lessons from Obama for the European context. The International Journal of Public Participation, 4(1), 12–30.Google Scholar
  27. Rice, R. E. (1993). Media appropriateness using social presence theory to compare traditional and new organizational media. Human Communication Research, 19(4), 451–484. Wiley Online Library.Google Scholar
  28. Roeder, S., Poppenborg, A., Michaelis, S., Märker, O. & Salz, S. R. (2005). Public budget dialogue: An innovative approach to E-Participation. TCGOV 2005. pp. 48–56.Google Scholar
  29. Short, J., Williams, E., & Christie, B. (1976). The Social Psychology of Telecommunications. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  30. Sommer, L., & Cullen, R. (2009). Participation 2.0: A case study of e-participation within the New Zealand government New Zealand New Zealand abstract. 42nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences 20089.Google Scholar
  31. Stern, E., Gudes, O., & Svoray, T. (2009). Web-based and traditional public participation in comprehensive planning: A comparative study. Environment And Planning, 36(6), 1067–1085.Google Scholar
  32. Talbot, D. (2008). How Obama really did it: The social-networking strategy that took an obscure senator to the doors of the white house. Technology Review. Retrieved from
  33. Tomai, M., Rosa, V., Ella, M., Acunti, A. D., Benedetti, M., & Francescato, D. (2010). Computers & Education virtual communities in schools as tools to promote social capital with high schools students. Computers & Education, 54(1), 265–274.Google Scholar
  34. Te’eni, D. (2001). A cognitive affective model of organizational communication. MIS Quarterly, 25(2), 1–62.Google Scholar
  35. Vergeer, M., & Pelzer, B. (2009). Consequences of media and Internet use for offline and online network capital and well-being. A causal model approach. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 15, 189–210.Google Scholar
  36. Waters, R. D., Burnett, E., Lamm, A. & Lucas, J. (2009). Engaging stakeholders through social networking: How nonprofit organizations are using Facebook. Public Relations Review, 35, 102—106.Google Scholar
  37. Xie, B., & Jaeger, P. T. (2008). Older adults and political participation on the Internet : A cross-cultural comparison of the USA and China. Journal of Cross Cultural Gerontologyurnal of Cross Cultural Gerontology, 23, 1–15.Google Scholar
  38. Yin, R. K. (2008). Case study research: design and methods (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
  39. Zhang, W., Johnson, T. J., Seltzer, T., & Bichard, S. L. (2010). The revolution will be networked. Social Science Computer Review, 28(1), 75–92.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin Effing
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jos van Hillegersberg
    • 1
  • Theo W. C. Huibers
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Information Systems and Change ManagementSchool of Management and Governance, University of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Human Media InteractionUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations