Social media effects on fostering online civic engagement and building citizen trust and trust in institutions
Type of work: Article (academic)
Categories:e-Democracy | Participation | Politics and Political Science | Social Media & Social Software
Tags:AMOS, SEM, trust
This paper tests the extent to which social media is shaping civic engagement initiatives to build trust among people and increase trust in their institutions, particularly the government, police and justice systems. A survey of 502 citizens showed that using social media for civic engagement has a significant positive impact on trust propensity and that this trust had led to an increase in trust towards institutions. Interestingly, while group incentives encouraged citizens to engage online for civic matters, it is civic publications through postings on social media that intensify the urge of citizens for civic action to address social issues. Post-hoc analysis via ten interviewswith social activistswas conducted to further examine their perceptions on trust towards institutions. The overall findings suggest that institutions, in their effort to promote a meaningful and trusting citizen engagement, need to enhance trust among the public by fostering social capital via online civic engagement and closing the public–police disengagement gap.