Political parties and politicians increasingly use the possibilities of the Internet to communicate interactively with citizens and vice versa. The Internet also offers opportunities for individual politicians to profile themselves. These developments are often said to bring politics closer to citizens, increasing their political engagement in politics. Empirical evidence for such claims is, however, scarce. In a scenario experiment and a laboratory experiment using real-world websites, the authors examine whether more personalized online communication (a focus on individual politicians) and the use of interactive features increase political involvement among citizens. The results from both studies demonstrate that both highly interactive and personalized online communication do increase citizens' political involvement. Moreover, it was also found that political personalization positively moderates the effect of interactivity on political involvement, meaning that the effects of interactivity are even stronger in a personalized setting.
- political involvement