Social activism: Engaging millennials in social causes
Keywords:social media, advocacy, media environments, mediated experiences, digital engagement
Given that young adults consume and interact with digital technologies not only a daily basis, but extensively throughout the day, it stands to reason they are more actively involved in advocating social change particularly through social media. However, national surveys of civic engagement indicate civic and community engagement drops-off after high school and while millennials attend college. While past research has compiled evidence about young adults’ social media use and some social media behaviors, limited literature has investigated the audience’s perspective of social activism campaigns through social media. Research also has focused on the adoption of new technologies based on causal linkages between perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness, yet few studies have considered how these dynamics relate to millennials engagement with others using social media for social good. This project builds on past research to investigate the relationship between millennials’ online exposure to information about social causes and motives to take part in virtual and face-to-face engagement. Findings suggest that while digital media environments immerse participants in mediated experiences that merge both the off-line and online worlds, and has a strong effect on person’s influence to do something, unclear is the extent to which social media and social interactions influence millennials willingness to engage both online and in-person. Even so, the results of this study indicate millennials are open to using social media for social causes, and perhaps increasing engagement off-line too.
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