Electronic Participation (ePart) Conference
This paper presents the results of a literature review in regard to Social Media and participation. Besides that, to understand the meaning and impact of Social Media on elections, we show field results from the 2010 and 2011 elections in the Netherlands. There are several challenges when it comes to engaging people in party politics. The current findings in literature show us that previous efforts to shape public participation with prior Internet tools did not meet expectations. With Social Media this could change, because participation seems to be the key concept that explains the difference between ‘old’ web and ‘new’ Social Media. In the Netherlands, Social Media did not significantly influence voting behaviour during the local elections (2010/2011). But, during the national elections (2010), politicians with higher Social Media engagement got relatively more votes within most political parties. In conclusion, we propose a future research agenda to study how political parties could benefit from Social Media to reinvent and improve the way they work with their members and volunteers.