Engaged Youth in Internet. The Role of Social Networks in Social Active Participation
Keywords:Social networks, youth, participation, Internet, solidarity, cyberactivism, digital communication, interactivity
This paper contributes to the analysis of the role that social networks play in civic, social mobilization and solidarity of Spanish young people, considering whether social networks are responsible for active social commitment off-line or if they just intensify an existing or previous tendency towards social participation. This research was undertaken by on-line questionnaire –Likert scale and multiple choice questions– in collaboration with the Spanish social network Tuenti where more than 1,300 young people took part. The results show significant percentages of participation exclusively on-line although there were more than 80% of young people, in a way or another, involved in actions to which they were called by social networks. The study analyzes the forms of participation in solidarity actions and the influence of factors such as geographical, social or emotional proximity to causes on the degree of participation on-line and off-line. The article shows that social networks have changed the meaning of participation. They are encouraging young people not mobilized away from social networks, to take action, so it proposes in its conclusions the need to overcome the dichotomy that opposes on-line and off-line activism and passivity..