Digital democracy : from Gutenberg to Gates

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Meyer, Kim
computer-mediated communication
digital media
media ecology
political engagement
Canadians in the 18 to 24-year-old age bracket have a measurably high level of engagement in computer mediated communication (CMC) and a measurably low level of engagement in traditional politics, in comparison to older population groups. In this exploratory study I set out to determine specifically how participants use CMC to engage in politics, and to more broadly understand their knowledge, views, and thoughts regarding politics and regarding communicating in the digital realm. I interviewed five university students between 18 and 20 years of age using a semi structured interview format. The participants tracked CMC usage for a 24 hour period to provide an objective measure of how they engaged in CMC to supplement their interview narrative. Using constructivist grounded theory methodology, key themes emerged in evaluation of how and why participants engage in CMC, and in their views of, and engagement with, politics. These themes were further investigated through the lenses of media ecology, social capital, and social network theories.
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