Bridging the Generational Culture Gap in Youth Civic Engagement through Social Media: Lessons Learnt from Young Designers in Three Civic Organisations

  • Henry Mainsah Oslo School of Architecture and Design
  • Petter Bae Brandtzæg SINTEF
  • Asbjørn Følstad SINTEF


Youth civic identities and social media practices are changing rapidly, and civic organisations are struggling to exploit the potential of social media to reach youth. One major challenge concerns the generational culture gap between the networked culture of today’s youth and the top–down culture characteristic of many civic organisations. This study presents lessons learnt from three cases where young designers (22–26 years) were engaged to develop social media concepts for civic organisations. Drawing on this experience, we present lessons learnt on how design by youth for youth may help to bridge the generational culture gap concerning civic engagement through social media. It is suggested that design may benefit from not only being informed by youth but also created by them. Through the design cases, we contribute to how civic organisations might innovate in their social media approach to better reflect the fast-changing networked youth culture.