Employing the first U.S. based sample of dual screeners gathered through the use of political and non-political hashtags on Twitter, this study examines how online political expression shapes individuals' political efficacy levels. To my knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate both political expression and efficacy of Twitter users, using online political expression to predict political efficacy. The research question this study set out to answer was, “How does political expression on Twitter shape individuals’ political efficacy levels?”. A two-wave panel survey was constructed to poll Twitter users who tweeted with specific hashtags of interest during three political media events. Previous research has shown that active social media use has the strongest and most consistent impact on individuals’ political characteristics. Thus, I expected the more often individuals post politically related content to Twitter, the higher levels of efficacy they will have. Conventional wisdom tells us that online political expression increases political participation and engagement. I hypothesized that those who live-tweet political media events with the affiliated hashtag, will have higher levels of efficacy than those who do not engage in the practice. Finally, based on the engagement practices of “traditional political activists”, I expected those who are live-tweeting political media events to have stronger party identification, political interest, and increased levels of participation than those who are not. This study will uncover the relationship between political expression on Twitter and political efficacy. More specifically, the completed analyses will help us understand the impact of “active” political expression in the form of dual screening on individuals’ political efficacy levels.
van Doorn, Bas
Malky, Anthony G., "#Politics: An Evaluation of Political Expression and Efficacy of Twitter Users During the 2016 General Election" (2017). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 7852.
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
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