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Nils Gustafsson (2020)

Nils Gustafsson

elite networks, political communication & social media

Nils Gustafsson (2020)

The Usual Suspects? Swedish Social Media Users and Political Participation


  • Nils Gustafsson

Summary, in English

This paper uses data from a 2010 Swedish nationwide survey (done in cooperation with the SOM institute in Gothenburg) in order to study whether citizens who engage in participatory activities, especially signing petitions, while using sites like Facebook share demographic and other features with citizens who are known from previous studies to be more likely to participate in politics.

Does the mere use of social media services such as Facebook lead to new groups of citizens taking part in politics, or do we see a steady interest from the “usual suspects” of political participation research, adding new channels to exert influence? Is there a generational factor at hand, where young people, the “digital natives”, are exchanging old ways of interacting with the political system for “clicktivism” – or is the dichotomy of old and new forms of participation a false one?

This preliminary study shows that for young Swedes, social media is a more popular channel for participating than traditional forms. However, it is also clear that socio-economic factors are still important predictors for participation, online or offline.


  • Institutionen för strategisk kommunikation








  • Political Science


  • social media
  • political participation
  • social network sites

Conference name

ECPR 6th General Conference, 2011

Conference date

2011-08-25 - 2011-08-27

Conference place

Reykjavik, Iceland




  • Viral politik. Politisk mobilisering i sociala medier