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Impact of Social Viewing of News on Political Participation and Identity Formation

Date 2024.04.03. Writer 허선이 Hits 109

Social viewing of news, an emerging trend where news consumption and opinion sharing go hand in hand, significantly increases political participation. However, the underlying mechanisms driving this impact remain unclear. Scientists at Dongguk University have  now identified the mediating factors—information acquisition, self-expression, and partisan identity—that drive political participation. These findings offer practical insights for political parties, news organizations, and media policymakers to fuel political participation and foster open discussions within democratic societies.  

 

 

Impact of Social Viewing of News on Political Participation and Identity Formation

 

 

With advancing technology, people can now watch news on live-streaming apps and share their opinions simultaneously. This new trend, known as social viewing of news, increases citizens’ likelihood of participating in politics, such as donating to political parties and engaging in civic group activities. Yet, how social viewing of news influences political participation remains unclear. 

 

Now, however, a recent study led by Professor Yonghwan Kim from the Department of Media and Communication at Dongguk University has developed a theoretical model to bridge this gap. Explaining further, Prof. Kim highlights, “Social viewing offers a new way to advance democratic deliberation. Therefore, it's important to explore how social viewing can boost political participation and mobilization.” The study was made available online on 27 January, 2024, and published in Volume 154 of Computers in Human Behavior on May 2024. 

 

The research team conducted two online surveys before the 2022 presidential election in South Korea. They found that people who frequently engage social viewing of news, gain diverse knowledge and share their opinions more freely. This makes them feel more attached to a specific political party, which, in turn, makes them more involved in politics.  

 

These findings are important for encouraging social viewing of news and citizen engagement in politics. News outlets can share news on social media, and platforms like YouTube can create features for live news viewers to discuss, engaging citizens in politics actively. 

 

Nonetheless, concerns linger about potential emotional polarization due to strong partisan identities. Sharing his opinions on this, Prof. Kim suggests, “Exposure to diverse perspectives can reduce polarization. So, social media companies and policymakers should also ensure that comments in online discussions are of high quality. It will help create an open and inclusive space where everyone can participate in discussions for a healthy democracy.”

 

In summary, this study redefines the role of social viewing of news, highlighting its relevance to understanding today's media and political scenario and its impact on political participation and democracy.

 

 

 

Reference
Authors: Yi Wang1, Yonghwan Kim1, and Han Lin2
Title of original paper: Social viewing of news and political participation: The mediating roles of information acquisition, self-expression, and partisan identity
Journal: Computers in Human Behavior
 
Affiliations: 1Department of Media and Communication, Dongguk University, Republic of Korea
2School of Communication, Soochow University, Suzhou, China
 
*Corresponding author’s email: yhkim17@dongguk.edu  (Y. Kim)
 
 
 
About Dongguk University
 
Dongguk University, founded in 1906, is located in Seoul, South Korea. It comprises 13 colleges that cover a variety of disciplines and has local campuses in Gyeongju, Goyang, and Los Angeles. The university has 1300 professors who conduct independent research and 18000 students undertaking studies in a variety of disciplines. Interaction between disciplines is one of the strengths on which Dongguk prides itself; the university encourages researchers to work across disciplines in Information Technology, Bio Technology, CT, and Buddhism. 
 
 
 
About the authors
 
Yonghwan Kim (Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin) is a Professor at the Department of Media and Communication at Dongguk University, Seoul, South Korea. His research focuses on emerging information communication technologies such as digital/social media, media convergence, digital journalism, and media effects. 
 
Yi Wang (Dongguk University, First author) is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Media and Communication at Dongguk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea. His research interests include media effects, journalism, political communication, and social viewing of news.
 
Han Lin (Ph.D., Dongguk University) is an assistant professor in the Department of Media and Communication at Soochow University, Suzhou, China. His research interests include political communication, journalism, and news fact checking.