From observation on social media to offline political participation: The social media affordances approach

Dam Hee Kim, Nicole B. Ellison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Building on prior studies suggesting that social media can facilitate offline political participation, this study seeks to clarify the mechanism behind this link. Social media may encourage social learning of political engagement due to their unique affordances such as visibility (i.e. once-invisible political activities by others are now visible on social media feeds). By analyzing a two-wave survey conducted before the 2016 presidential election in the United States, this study tests a theoretical model in which observation of others’ political activities on social media inspires users themselves to model similar political behaviors, which foster offline political participation. Autoregressive models show that the link between political observation and activities on social media is stronger among users surrounded with similar others and politically homogeneous networks. The results highlight the need to cultivate engaged citizenship norms for individuals’ political activities on social media to be carried over to participation beyond the realm of social media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNew Media and Society
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Affordances
  • citizenship norms
  • political homogeneity
  • political participation
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

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