Increasing Rural Civic Engagement in the Digital Age

Research & Engagement, 2017


Much interest is being placed on the role digital platforms play on increasing civic engagement in urban communities. However, their role in rural settings is not understood but critical as well. Rural areas can and should benefit from utilizing digital platforms to become more responsive and increase civic engagement. In working with communities in programs such as Marketing Hometown America, communication and engaging members were always identified as issues as well as the question of how to reach and connect with younger members of the community. This project seeks to increase civic engagement in three rural Nebraska communities by developing strategies and tactics for engaging in conversations online, as well as social media training, to assist rural communities in increasing and improving overall engagement.


Roberto Gallardo (PI), Purdue University
Jeremy Harris Lipschultz (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, Social Media Lab
Charlotte Narjes (Co-PI), Nebraska Extension
Connie Hancock (Co-PI), Nebraska Extension


Becky Vogt, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Survey Research
Jessica Quady, City Administrator, City of Ashland (key community contact)
Amy Allgood, Executive Director, Nebraska City Tourism & Commerce (key community contact)
Dena Dennison, Executive Director, Ravenna Economic Development (key community contact)

Contact: Roberto Gallardo,