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Political Involvement in “Mobilized” Society: The Interactive Relationships Among Mobile Communication, Network Characteristics, and Political Participation

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In recent years, mobile communication has emerged as a channel for political discourse among network ties. Although some celebrate new possibilities for political life, others are concerned that it can lead to network insularity and political detachment. This study examined how mobile‐mediated discourse with strong ties interacts with characteristics of those ties to predict levels of political participation. Findings revealed that mobile‐based discourse is positively associated with political participation, but that this relationship is moderated by the size and heterogeneity of one's network. Participation increases with use of the technology in large networks of like‐minded individuals, but declines with use of the technology in homogeneous networks that are small. Implications and future research considerations are offered in the discussion.
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Language: English

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Communication Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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