From online disagreement to offline action: How diverse motivations for using social media can increase political information sharing and catalyze offline political participation

Daniel S. Lane, Dam Hee Kim, Slgi S. Lee, Brian E. Weeks, Nojin Kwak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Amid growing concerns over the contentious tenor of online political discourse, scholars have begun to recognize that the social contexts and affordances provided by social media may present indirect pathways from online political discussion to offline political participation. Less work has addressed how users’ motivations for using social media might influence such dynamics. In this study, we use two-wave panel survey data collected in the United States to test the possibility that online cross-cutting discussion involving political disagreement can encourage users to share political information on social media, which in turn can increase their offline political engagement. We also test how specific motivations for using social media (i.e., political engagement, relationship maintenance, and self-promotion) moderate the amount users share political information on social media when engaged in conversations involving political disagreement. Our results find that increased online cross-cutting political discussion indirectly affects offline political participation through the influence of social media political information sharing. We also observe that this indirect effect is stronger for users who are motivated to use social media for either political engagement or relationship maintenance (but not self-promotion) purposes. Our findings advance one route from online political disagreement to offline political action, which can impact both politically and nonpolitically motivated social media users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSocial Media and Society
Volume3
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Cross-cutting discussion
  • Information sharing
  • Politics
  • Relationship maintenance
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Computer Science Applications

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