A Trigger or a Muffler? - Examining the Dynamics of Crosscutting Exposure and Political Expression in Online Social Media
This study explores the potential of online social media to serve as a sphere for political discourse and investigates the extent to which everyday uses of online social networking sites can expose citizens to politically diverse viewpoints. In addition, this study asks whether such crosscutting exposure in online social networks will act as a trigger or a muffler for political expression – that is, whether exposure political difference will stimulate or discourage political discussions. With analyses of a sample of online social networking site users in the context of the 2012 presidential election in South Korea, this study explicates the link between crosscutting exposure and citizens’ political expressions in social media. Results reveal that contrary to the predictions in previous literature, exposure to politically incongruent viewpoints in online social networking sites does not seem to undermine users’ expressive behaviors but instead positively contribute to political expression. In addition, this study shows the significant role of citizens’ perceptions of candidate support in their own networks, and illustrates that the dynamics of political expression differ significantly depending on the users’ age.
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JeDEM is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal (ISSN: 2075-9517). All journal content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Austria (CC BY 3.0) License.