Like-minded and cross-cutting talk, network characteristics, and political participation online and offline: A panel study

Jörg Matthes 1 , Franziska Marquart 2  and Christian von Sikorski 3
  • 1 Department of Communication, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  • 2 Amsterdam School of Communication Research, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 3 Department of Psychology, University of Koblenz-Landau, Landau, Germany
Jörg Matthes, Franziska Marquart and Christian von Sikorski

Abstract

We test the role of like-minded and cross-cutting political discussion as a facilitator of online and offline political participation and examine the role of strong versus weak network ties. Most prior research on the topic has employed cross-sectional designs that may lead to spurious relationships due to the lack of controlled variables. The findings of a two-wave panel survey controlling the autoregressive effects suggest that cross-cutting talk with weak ties significantly dampens online but not offline political participation. However, no such effects were detectable for cross-cutting talk with strong ties. In addition, we found no effect of discussions involving like-minded individuals in either weak or strong network connections on online and offline forms of political engagement. Implications are discussed.

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The European Journal of Communication Research is an established forum for scholarship and academic debate in the field of communication science and research from a European perspective. Communications highlights the concerns of communication science through the publication of articles, research reports, review essays and book reviews on theoretical and methodological developments considered from a European perspective.

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