chapter  5
18 Pages

The design and use of social media in forms of participation

ByBridgette Wessels

It is important to consider the design of social media and differing forms of communication, in order to understand how social media feature in engagement, participation and in shaping political culture. To assess how social media are used and what types of participation they engender, we need to consider their specific contexts of use in relation to the design of particular media platforms. To understand how social media feature in political culture, it is necessary to consider how they relate to mainstream media, because both are information sources that mediate and feature in the dynamics of engagement and participation. In general terms, civic communication is often issues based, relating to policies, events or circumstances at local, national and international levels. The invisible actions of algorithms also have a major impact, and there is growing awareness in the public sphere about this issue, with journalists starting to investigate how these processes operate and their social consequences.