Third Brown Bag of the Semester – January 31, 2014

Jae Kook Lee, Jihyang Choi, and Cheonsoo Kim, School of Journalism, Indiana University

Social Media, Network Heterogeneity, and Opinion Polarization

Note: This Colloquium was hosted by the School of Journalism

ABSTRACT: Employing a national probability survey in 2012, this study tests relationships between social media, SNS network heterogeneity, and opinion polarization. The results show that the use of social media is a positive predictor of the level of network heterogeneity on SNSs and that the relationship is mediated by several news-related activities, such as getting news, news posting, and talking about politics on SNSs. Testing the association between the SNS network heterogeneity and polarization, the study considers three different dimensions of opinion polarization: partisan, ideological, and issue polarization. The findings indicate that political discussion moderates the relationship between network heterogeneity and the level of partisan and ideological polarization. The implications of the study are discussed.


Jae Kook Lee: Assistant professor. Primary research interest is the relationship between the changing media environment and public opinion.

Jihyang Choi: Doctoral candidate. Her research interests revolve around the effects of Internet or social media use in the context of political communication and journalism.

Cheonsoo Kim:  Doctoral student. His research interest involves organization-public relationships, political communication, and new media.

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