Year of Graduation
The Influence of Social Network VK on Russian Youth Political Participation
Advertising and Public Relations
The Internet, including social media, has been rapidly developing into a political communication channel in the last twenty years. Its potential to increase political participation, both in general and especially among young people, has been actively discussed within the academic community, with no consensus reached so far. Recent studies focus on the influence of social media – a specific form of digital media – on youth political participation. However, the existing research is insufficient and provides mixed and unclear results. This study aims to contribute to the discussion by examining the influence of political VK use on Russian youth political participation, thus providing results from a new country (Russia) and a new social network (VK – the most popular social network in Russia). Two methods are used to reach the goal of the research. An online survey (n=320) is conducted to get data, and regression analysis is done afterwards to determine the relationship between political VK use and political participation. Other predictors of political participation are also included in the model. Two dimensions of political VK use are explored – cognitive (political information seeking) and expressive (online political expression). Political participation is also divided into two types – online and offline. The results show that political expression in VK is a significant positive predictor of Russian youth political participation (β = 0.124, p ≈ 0.000), whereas political information seeking is insignificant. Also, regression modelling proves that political expression in VK increases online political participation more than offline political participation.