And the debate and research continue ...
Excerpt below from The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Wired Campus http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/article/?id=3437&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en
retrieved Nov 4, 2008
November 3, 2008
Study to Explore How Social-Networking Sites Influence Voting Behavior
(Crossposted from Campaign U. blog)
"Much has been written this election season about how the Internet, especially social-networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube, has changed the way people access and share political information. But to what extent are these sites engaging potential voters? And how much information is just being scanned over or ignored?
These questions are the focus of a survey-based study by Gary Hanson and Paul Haridakis, communications professors at Kent State University. They plan to finish collecting data in the coming weeks and publish their findings by the beginning of next year.
Online social networking is playing a major role in a presidential election for the first time this campaign, Mr. Haridakis said in an interview, and without any quantitative research so far it’s possible that the effect of social networking on voter activism may be overstated. Although many Web users may have read a news article posted by a friend, for example, fewer may have gone so far as to post their own content. “It might mean they’re just getting more information, not more empowerment,” he said."