The Effects of Internet Use and Internet Efficacy on Offline and Online Engagement

Weiwu Zhang 1, Sherice Gearhart 2 *

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While existing research has explored the relationship between Internet use and civic engagement, this study is among the first to examine the effects of general Internet use, social network site use, and Internet efficacy on online and offline civic participation using the 2010 Pew Internet and American Life Project ‘Social Side of the Internet’ survey (N = 2,303). Results show that general Internet use and social network site use enhance web and wireless participation. However, neither increases offline participation. Individual Internet efficacy enhances both online and offline participation, but group Internet efficacy decreases offline participation. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings of this study for engagement are discussed.


Internet use social media use Internet efficacy social capital civic engagement


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 5, Issue 4, October 2015, pp. 147-173

Published Online: 15 Oct 2015

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