Does site architecture matter? The political implications of public- vs. private-oriented social network sites in China
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AbstractPolitical communication researchers have shown that social network site (SNS) use and online network characteristics can impinge on people’s political attitudes and behavior. Nevertheless, individual SNSs have varying site architecture, basic design features, and functionalities, which may influence usage and online network characteristics. This study thus examines whether site architecture matters for understanding the political implications of SNSs. Specifically, this article conceptualizes the distinction between public-oriented and private-oriented SNSs. It contends that the two types of SNSs would have varying impact on political behavior through the kinds of online networks that they tend to sustain. Analysis of a survey of university students in Guangzhou, China (N = 897), shows that respondents using public-oriented SNSs tended to have a relatively more ‘public’ online network – larger, involving more strangers, and with more connections to public actors. Some of these network characteristics in turn affected political discussion behavior. The analysis thus demonstrates how SNS architecture can indirectly impinge on individual-level political outcomes.
Acceptance Date23/08/2016
All Author(s) ListChris Chao Su, Francis LF Lee, Gongcheng Lin
Journal nameAsian Journal of Communication
Volume Number27
Issue Number2
Pages134 - 153
LanguagesEnglish-United States
KeywordsSocial network sites, site architecture, public-oriented versus private-oriented SNSs, online network characteristics, political discussion, China

Last updated on 2021-16-09 at 01:48