Are Social Media a Political Movement Equalizer? Survey Evidences From Two Asian Polities

Research output: Conference PapersRGC 32 - Refereed conference paper (without host publication)peer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

Conference

Title70th Annual International Communication Association Conference (ICA 2020)
LocationVirtual
Period20 - 26 May 2020

Abstract

Substantial evidences have pointed to the use of social media as facilitating political participation. Social media may reduce the gap of political participation among people with different levels of political predispositions; but it may benefit only those who are already psychologically involved in politics or the younger generations who are digital natives. The present study examines the extent to which using social media for information and socialization purposes is related to political engagement across citizens with different political internal efficacy and those of different ages. Two representative surveys were implemented in two Asian polities, Hong Kong (n = 493) and Taiwan (n = 700), both of which share Confucian heritage but have distinct political cultures. Results showed that, in both societies, social media use casted a stronger effect on elite-challenging political participation for those who had higher political internal efficacy. For the elite-directed political activities, in Hong Kong, social media use produced a stronger effect for those who had lower levels of internal political efficacy. In Taiwan, social media were more effective in mobilizing voting for those who were older. To conclude, social media may empower those “political have-nots,” acting as an equalizer to reduce the participation gaps in elite-directed political actions. For elite-challenging political activities, however, social media appear to enlarge, but not narrow, the participation gap.

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Citation Format(s)

Are Social Media a Political Movement Equalizer? Survey Evidences From Two Asian Polities. / Lin, W.; Zhang, X.
2020. Paper presented at 70th Annual International Communication Association Conference (ICA 2020).

Research output: Conference PapersRGC 32 - Refereed conference paper (without host publication)peer-review