Changing Politics Through Likes and Tweets: How does social media affect political polarization?Show full item record
|Title||Changing Politics Through Likes and Tweets: How does social media affect political polarization?|
|Abstract|| This study answers the following question: How does social media affect political polarization. It was posited that social media may be the mechanism by which the general public has transformed from Fiorina’s non-polarized public to Abramowitz’s polarized public because social media lowers the bar for political engagement and the law of group polarization allows for social media users’ views to become more extreme. Based on Arceneaux and Johnson’s study on political polarization and television, my study was conducted to test the hypotheses that viewing congruent content on social media leads one’s views to become more extreme than viewing non-political social media content and viewing incongruent content on social media leads one’s views to stay the same as or become more extreme than viewing non-political social media content. In reality, viewing congruent social media content did not cause views to become more extreme, and viewing incongruent social media content caused views to become less extreme. This led to the theoretically important finding that the law of group polarization may not apply to social media, but three other concepts do apply: (1) pressure to conform, (2) motivated reasoning, and (3) perception of threat. Practically, campaigns most likely will not be able to make individuals become more extreme in their views, but, if they are able to show really concentrated content, may be able to make individuals become less extreme in their views. Overall, even though it is in the opposite way of my theory, this study does demonstrate that social media is changing politics through likes and tweets. |
pressure to conform
perception of threat
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