Dr. Lauren Copeland recently published a study on LGBT adults and their interactions with social media in the Journal of Information Technology and Politics.

Political Science Professor Studies Social Media and Political Participation

April 12, 2016


Dr. Lauren Copeland, associate director of BW’s Community Research Institute and assistant professor of political science, has published a new article focusing on the relationship between social media use and political participation in the Journal of Information Technology & Politics. "Networked Publics: How Connective Social Media Use Facilitates Political Consumerism among LGBT Americans" examines "how social media use increases the likelihood of engaging in political activism among members of an LGBT issue public with varying levels of political interest."

Using the Pew Research Center's 2013 Survey of LGBT Americans, Copeland and co-author Dr. Amy B. Becker find that when people use social media to meet like-minded people or to discuss issues facing their community, the likelihood of participating in politics increases dramatically—by as many as 26 percentage points among those who are less interested in politics, and about 20 percentage points among those who are more interested in politics.

"The study shows that certain types of social media use reinforce the likelihood of participation among people who are already interested in politics, and mobilizes people who are less interested in politics to participate," Dr. Copeland notes. "These findings have important implications for any organization that wishes to mobilize people to participate in politics, including election campaigns."

Copeland also has a chapter in "Ethics and Morality in Consumption: Interdisciplinary Perspectives." The book is set to come out this fall.