Social Networking Sites and Political Involvement
Social media, especially social networking sites (SNS) is an important platform for people to seek and share information. Its features of unique spread function, easy accessibility and wide content coverage attract more and more people to use it. Based on a dataset by the Pew Internet and American Life project, this research uses an ordered probit model and tries to find out whether there is a relationship between social networking sites use and offline political involvement. The findings indicate that the relationship depends on people's interests on politics. The paper classified the result into two groups - positively correlated group and negatively correlated group. The result shows that if people like to talk about politics, social networking sites have the positive effect letting them be more involved in offline politics. Differently, for people who are not interested in politics, social networking sites actually have a negative effect to people's offline political involvement. Even though this unexpected result may need further investigations, the overall result indicates social networking sites have a significant relationship to offline political involvement. These findings are also important for policy implications.