Puget Sound Off: Fostering Youth Civic Engagement through Citizen Journalism in a Local Community Context

  • Shelly D. Farnham ,
  • David Keyes ,
  • Vicky Yuki ,
  • Chris Tugwell

CSCW '12 |

Published by ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work

Social media technologies provide unique channels to empower youth to become more civically engaged. Puget Sound Off is an online blogging and networking site focused on helping youth connect, collaborate, and take action around local community issues. We performed an evaluation study seeking lessons learned from a real world deployment. We found that a core group of youth became highly engaged with Puget Sound Off, and that both usage and identification with the community was positively correlated with civic engagement. Youth reported an appreciation for the opportunity for meaningful discussion around issues that mattered to them. We found however that growth of Puget Sound Off was slow, in part due to the constraints of deploying to youth in a real world context with concerns about inappropriate use. We end with recommendations for fostering growth and civic engagement in related social media technologies.