Political Expression and Action on Social Media: Exploring the Relationship Between Lower- and Higher-Threshold Political Activities Among Twitter Users in Italy

Cristian Vaccari, Augusto Valeriani, Pablo Barberá, Richard Bonneau, John T. Jost, Jonathan Nagler, Joshua A. Tucker

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Scholars and commentators have debated whether lower-threshold forms of political engagement on social media should be treated as being conducive to higher-threshold modes of political participation or a diversion from them. Drawing on an original survey of a representative sample of Italians who discussed the 2013 election on Twitter, we demonstrate that the more respondents acquire political information via social media and express themselves politically on these platforms, the more they are likely to contact politicians via e-mail, campaign for parties and candidates using social media, and attend offline events to which they were invited online. These results suggest that lower-threshold forms of political engagement on social media do not distract from higher-threshold activities, but are strongly associated with them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221–239
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Issue number2
Early online date12 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015

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