Do platforms favour dissidents? Characterizing political actor types based on social media uses and gratifications

Chamil Rathnayake, Jenifer Sunrise Winter

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:The rise of social media has resulted in a dramatic change in citizen engagement in political processes. This raises the question of whether affordances of social network sites motivate alternative politics more than more conventional form of political engagement. OBJECTIVE:1) identify differences in social media uses and gratifications among four political personality types (i.e., potential dissidents, allegiants, subordinates, and the alienated), and 2) examine the extent to which political personality types can be discerned using social media uses and gratifications. METHODS:313 United States citizens above the age of 18 completed a survey using the revised MAIN model scale to measure social media uses and gratifications. Subjects were categorised into political personality types based on the Gamson Hypothesis and Paige’s conceptualisation of actor types. We developed a multinomial logistic regression model to examine the relationship between predictors (uses and gratifications) and political personality types. RESULTS:Potential allegiants and dissidents are driven by a similar set of social media uses and gratifications as opposed to political subordinates and the alienated. CONCLUSION:Social media can provide more gratifications for potential dissidents and allegiants, ‘favouring’ personality types with high political efficacy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-263
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Systems Management
Volume40
Issue number2
Early online date26 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • social media
  • uses and gratifications
  • uses and grats 2.0
  • affordances
  • dissidents
  • allegiant
  • citizen engagement

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