Digital Feedback: Trends in Constituents\' Communication with Elected Officials

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Virginia Tech


Individuals born after 1980 are often immediately labeled with the term, "digital generation". This label assumes that young people are fluent, proficient, and constant users of digital media. This thesis explores digital communication behavior in the context of political communication. This thesis begins with an exploration of how age influences digital political communication, finding that while young people prefer digital media more so than older generations, they are less likely to utilize those media to communicate with government officials.  Following the age comparison, this thesis examines race, income, and education as indicators for digital political communication. This thesis utilizes secondary data analysis of surveys collected by PEW Internet & American Life Project between 2003 and 2009.  The findings herein suggest that although young people prefer digital communication in politics, the millennial generation continues to lag behind older generations in actual digital political communication behavior. Additionally, this thesis finds that young people falling into minority groups, with low-income and low-education are less likely to utilize digital political communication media than older Whites with high-income and high-education.



Digital Political Communication, Age, Race, Income, Education