Online Civic Participation

Share with students political theorist Danielle Allen's ten questions to ask before choosing to take action online.
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At a Glance



English — US


  • Civics & Citizenship
  • Social Studies
  • Democracy & Civic Engagement

Civic participation increasingly takes place online. Danielle Allen, a political theorist who studies young people’s civic participation, suggests that when people choose to take action online to strengthen their communities, they should consider ten important questions. She and her colleagues write: “Whether you’re creating your first Facebook page to support a cause you care about, or seeking to engage your friends, associates, and even strangers in a new platform aimed to achieve civic ends, these ten questions will help frame your decisions. Use them to shape your strategy and to check whether you’re doing everything in your power to achieve maximum impact.”

The questions are:

  1. Why does it matter to me?
  2. How much [about myself] should I share?
  3. How do I make it about more than myself?
  4. Where do we start?
  5. How can we make it easy and engaging?
  6. How do [we] get wisdom from crowds?
  7. How do [we] handle the downside of crowds?
  8. Does raising voices count as [civic and] political action?
  9. How do we get from voice to change?
  10. How can we find allies? 1
  • 1 "Why the YPP Action Frame?," Harvard University Youth Participatory Politics Research Network, accessed July 15, 2016.

How to Cite This Reading

Facing History and Ourselves, "Online Civic Participation," last updated March 22, 2018. 

This reading contains text not authored by Facing History and Ourselves. See footnotes for source information.

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Using the strategies from Facing History is almost like an awakening.
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