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Saturday, September 21 • 9:00am - 9:33am
The Regulation of Archives and Society’s Memory

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Research has noted a link between social media use and political participation. Scholars have also identified a need to explain this link. The present study is a theoretical and empirical probe into the political outcomes of unfriending people on social media. Drawing on privacy management theory and the social identity perspective, it explores the relationship between social network curation (blocking or unfriending others on social media for political reasons), perceived social network agreeability (how often people agree with the political opinions or political content of friends on social media), and forms of political participation. Using data from a survey of US adults (N=2,018) and a structural equation modelling approach, study results indicate a relational path from social network curation, through expressive participation (e.g. discussing politics and posting about politics on social media), to more demonstrative forms of participation (e.g. donating money and volunteering time). The study contributes to our understanding of the link between social media use and political outcomes by focusing on a unique explanatory mechanism. Policy implications pertain to the role that social media useplays in fostering political involvement. Specifically, if cutting disagreeable friends out of one’ssocial network is associated with political participation, this raises normative concerns regarding engagement which is underpinned by political polarization and intolerance.

avatar for Randolph May

Randolph May

President, Free State Foundation


Noam Tirosh

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Amit Schejter

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Saturday September 21, 2019 9:00am - 9:33am PDT
Y402 WCL, 4300 Nebraska Ave, Washington, DC