Smartphones, text messages, and political participation

Sara Shaul-Cohen, Azi Lev-On

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In recent years, usage of text messages sent by political parties and candidates to potential voters has been on the rise. Such messages may also offer response options, which create bilateral communications with potential voters. This article examines responsiveness to political text messages during election campaigns and the factors that affect such responsiveness, using a natural experiment in which the campaign headquarters of 3 municipal candidates sent text messages to the residents of 3 municipalities. Findings indicate that response rates ranged from 4% to 18%, which approximate the response rates to marketing campaigns and other forms of text-based political participation. Age and gender did not have a significant effect on response rates, but message personalization (texts that include recipient identity) and response mode (text reply/landing page) did. These findings offer new empirical evidence of certain patterns of mobile interactions that encourage political participation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-82
Number of pages21
JournalMobile Media and Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • participation
  • political participation
  • smartphone
  • social media
  • text messages


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