From Context Collapse to Safe Spaces : Selective Avoidance on Social Media

Research output: Conference Papers (RGC: 31A, 31B, 32, 33)33_Other conference paper

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Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPresented - 27 May 2019

Conference

Title69th Annual International Communication Association Conference (ICA 2019): Communication Beyond Boundaries
LocationWashington Hilton Hotel
PlaceUnited States
CityWashington, D.C.
Period24 - 28 May 2019

Abstract

This study examines disconnection behaviors on social media like unfriending and unfollowing as a means to selectively avoid politically discordant views. Specifically, we study the relationship between network disagreement and these behaviors, how it varies in different relational contexts, and whether it is contingent upon opinion climate incongruence (opinion minority vs. majority). Using survey data from Hong Kong, we find that only cross-cutting exposure associated with political discussion with distant others (e.g., strangers, people from different backgrounds) predicts the likelihood of political unfriending and unfollowing. Furthermore, cross-cutting exposure is positively associated with a greater tendency of tie dissolution only among opinion minorities but not among majorities. This suggests that selective avoidance could help citizens re-establish the homogeneity in their online ecologies and create online “safe spaces” in which they can express themselves more freely and acquire the courage and resources to participate in public life.

Research Area(s)

  • social media, Political communication

Citation Format(s)

From Context Collapse to Safe Spaces : Selective Avoidance on Social Media. / Zhu, Qinfeng; Skoric, Marko.

2019. 69th Annual International Communication Association Conference (ICA 2019): Communication Beyond Boundaries, Washington, D.C., United States.

Research output: Conference Papers (RGC: 31A, 31B, 32, 33)33_Other conference paper