How political expression on social media enhances political participation
Survey | Structure Equation Modeling | SPSS & AMOS
The goal of this study is to understand:
- The meaning and influence of two motivations, civic and social motivations, for discussing politics on social media.
- The role of political expression on social media as a form of citizenship.
- The impact of social interaction on social media on political behavior, namely political discussion and participation.
Two Motivations for Social Media Expression
Civic motivation: In line with the deliberative perspective of political discussion. People engage in politics due to a civic desire to learn about public affairs and politics, express opinions and preferences, and persuade others to do the same.
Social motivation: In line with the interpersonal relationship perspective of political discussion. People can discuss politics with a desire to form and maintain social relationships—even though they may not be interested in politics per se.
Refers to actions people engage in to reflect their political attitudes and opinions. Compare with political discussion, expression requires less time, effort and communicative ability.
For example, changing your profile picture to support an individual, topic, issue… all considered as “political expression”.
Mediated pathway through political discussion
Model and Hypothesis
Two-wave U.S. national data
Three SEM models:
- Cross-sectional model: As baseline
- Lagged panel model: Wave 1 and Wave 2
- Fixed-effects model: obtain unbiased estimates with unmeasured traits of individuals removed. (Shah et al., 2005)
qH1a and H1b: Civic and social motivations directly led to political discussion.
qH2a and H2b: Civic and social motivation had direct effect on political expression
qH3a and H3b: Political expression directly associated and mediated via discussion to offline participation.
Civic motivation directly associated with offline participation, but not does social motivation.
Civic motivation more strongly associated to political discussion, while social motivation more strongly associated to political expression.
- Civic motivations for discussing politics directly link to discussion and offline participation;
- While social motivations instead encourage more political expression and through this path lead to offline.
- This project provides counter argument to view the low-cost and easy online forms of participation: Casual chatting would involve political elements, gradually drive to political engagement.
- It indicates a new forms of citizenship: express themselves as citizen.
- It also justifies digital expression of individual political preferences as belonging to the larger set of activities defined as political participation.