Abstract: Keeping in mind the potential consequences that digital communication may hold for democratic societies, this research focuses on better understanding the web presence of UK youth organizations. It is interesting to examine how such organizations tie their theoretical conception of citizenship (their ‘offline’ philosophy) to the choices they make about web presence (their ‘online’ structure). Web presence – in this case, websites but also the use of Web 2.0 applications – can aim to provide information and promote participation, but can also encourage a particular view of citizenship and use certain forms of communication to advance this view. This paper focuses on seven youth organizations that embrace either a more conventional or non-conventional view of citizenship and have expanded their web presence from a dedicated website into Web 2.0, particularly social networking sites. First, I will summarize interview findings with web producers to better understand the philosophy behind web presence of the youth organization, along with a look at official website content. Second, I will provide a first look at how such organizations have adapted to Web 2.0, specifically via Facebook and Twitter. This paper contributes to an understanding of how online spaces and in particular the adaptation to Web 2.0 reflect offline views towards citizenship, a particularly important focus in an environment of increasing concern as to how to reach youth via technology.

ICTs, Web 2.0, computer-mediated communication, e-democracy, politics, young people
dx.doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2011.572982, hdl.handle.net/1765/23722
ERMeCC - Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture
Information, Communication and Society
Department of Media and Communication

Ward, J.R. (2011). Reaching citizens online. How youth organizations are evolving their web presence. Information, Communication and Society, 14(6), 917–936. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2011.572982