The Impact of Online Network Diversity on Familiarity and Engagement with Social Issues News on Facebook
Keywords:social media, race, religion, network diversity, crystallization, news, Facebook, social networks
This study of U.S. adults (N = 296) investigates the relationship between the ethnic and religious diversity of users’ Facebook networks and their familiarity and engagement with news about social issues on that platform— the Black Lives Matter movement, the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, and Muslim immigration. The results showed that greater ethnic and religious diversity in a user’s Facebook network predicted greater familiarity and a greater willingness to engage with information about recent social issues, even after controlling for overall network size, political ideology, and the user’s own demographic characteristics. These results suggest that online network diversity is an important consideration when studying contemporary social issues and media effects.
Adoni, H., & Mane, S. (1984). Media and the social construction of reality: Toward an integration of theory and research. Communication Research, 11, 323–340. doi: 10.1177/009365084011003001
Ahmadi, M., & Wohn, D. Y. (2018). The antecedents of incidental news exposure on social media. Social Media + Society, 4, 2.
Anderson, M. (2016). Social media causes some users to rethink their views on an issue. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/07/social-media-causes-some-users-to-rethink-their-views-on-an-issue/
Anderson, M., & Hitlin, P. (2016). Social media conversations about race. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/08/15/social-media-conversations-about-race/
Bakshy, E., Arbor, A., Adamic, L. A., & Arbor, A. (2009). Social influence and the diffusion of user-created content. In EC’09 ACM.
Beam, M. A., Child, J. T., Hutchens, M. J., & Hmielowski, J. D. (2017). Context collapse and privacy management: Diversity in Facebook friends increases online news reading and sharing. New Media & Society, Advanced online publication. doi: 10.1177/1461444817714790
Brandtzaeg, P. B., Luders, M., & Skjetne, J. H. (2010). Too many Facebook “friends”? Content sharing and sociability versus the need for privacy in social network sites. International Journal of Human–Computer Interaction, 26(11–12: HCI and Social Computing).
Bode, L. (2016). Political news in the news feed: Learning politics from social media. Mass Communication and Society, 19, 24-48.
Bode, L., Edgerly, S., Wells, C., Gabay, I., Franklin, C., Friedland, L., & Shah, D. V. (2018). Participation in Contentious Politics: Rethinking the Roles of News, Social Media, and Conversation Amid Divisiveness. Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 15(3), 215-229.
Ceron, A., Curini, L., & Iacus, S. M. (2016). First- and second-level agenda-setting in the Twittersphere: An application to the Italian political debate. Journal of Information Technology & Politics. doi: 10.1080/19331681.2016.1160266
Cha, M., Haddadi, H., Benevenuto, F., & Gummadi, K. P. (2010). Measuring user influence in Twitter: The million follower fallacy. In 4th International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM).
Cox, D., Navarro-Rivera, J., & Jones, R. P. (2016). Race, religion, and political affiliation of Americans’ core social networks. Retrieved from https://www.prri.org/research/poll-race-religion-politics-americans-social-networks/
Djerf-Pierre, M., & Shehata, A. (2017). Still an agenda setter: Traditional news media and public opinion during the transition from low to high choice media environments. Journal of Communication, 67(5), 733–757. doi: 10.1111/jcom.12327
Eveland, W. P., & Hively, M. H. (2009). Political discussion frequency, network size, and “heterogeneity” of discussion as predictors of political knowledge and participation. Journal of Communication, 59(2), 205-224. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2009.01412.x
Fletcher, R., & Nielsen, R. K. (2017). Are people incidentally exposed to news on social media? A comparative analysis. New Media & Society, 20, 2450-2468.
Freelon, D., McIlwain, C. D., & Clark, M. D. (2016). Beyond the hashtags: #Ferguson, #Blacklivesmatter, and the online struggle for offline justice. Center for Media & Social Impact, American University. Retrieved from http://cmsimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/beyond_the_hashtags_2016.pdf
Fu, J. S. (2016). Leveraging social network analysis for research on journalism in the information age. Journal of Communication, 66(2), 299–313. doi: 10.1111/jcom.12212
Gil de Zuniga, H., Weeks, B., & Ardevol-Abreu, A. (2017). Effects of the news-finds-me perception in communication: Social media use implications for news seeking and learning about politics. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 22, 105-123
Gottfried, J., & Shearer, E. (2016). News use across social media platforms 2016. Pew Research CenterPew Research Center, Retrieved from http://www.journalism.org/2016/05/26/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2016/
Heinrich, P., Brown, J., Danielson, M., & Fisher, C. (2016). Media’s depiction of the Black Lives Matter activism. MSNU Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Herrington, J., Oliver, R., & Reeves, T. C. (2003). Patterns of engagement in authenic online learning enviornments. Australian Journal of Education Technology, 19, 59–71. doi: 10.1038/nature10342
Higgins, E. T. (1992). Achieving “shared reality” in the communication game: A social action that creates meaning. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 11, 107–131. doi: 10.1177/0261927X92113001
Jones, B. (2016). Americans’ view of immigrants marked by widening partisan, generational divides. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2016/04/15/americans-views-of-immigrants-marked-by-widening-partisan-generational-divides/
Joshi, K. Y. (2006). The Racialization of Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism in the United States. Equity & Excellence in Education, 39(3), 211–226. doi: 10.1080/10665680600790327
Love, E. (2009). Confronting Islamophobia in the United States: Framing civil rights activism among Middle Eastern Americans. Patterns of Prejudice, 43(3/4), 401–425. doi: 10.1080/00313220903109367
Lu, Y. (2019). Incidental Exposure to political disagreement on facebook and corrective participation: Unraveling the effects of emotional responses and issue relevance. International Journal of Communication, 13, 23.
Matsa, K. E., & Mitchell, A. (2014). 8 key takeaways about social media and news. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/journalism/2014/03/26/8-key-takeaways-about-social-media-and-news/
McCallan, T. (2016, December 14). Trump’s election voted No. 1 religion story of 2016; Khizr & Ghazala Khan selected as top newsmakers. Retrieved from http://www.rna.org/news/321947/Trumps-election-voted-No.-1-religion-story-of-2016-Khizr--Ghazala-Khan-selected-as-top-newsmakers.htm
McDonald, D. G., & Dimmick, J. (2003). The conceptualization and measurement of diversity. Communication Research, 30(1), 60-79. doi: 10.1177/0093650202239026
Min, S. J., & Wohn, D. Y. (2018). All the news that you don't like: Cross-cutting exposure and political participation in the age of social media. Computers in Human Behavior, 83, 24-31.
Mislevy, J. (2009). Objective and subjective measures of diversity: How they relate to one another and climate perceptions. Institutional Research, Planning & Assessment. In MdAIR Conference at the University of Maryland.
Mitchell, A., Gottfried, J., Barthel, M., & Shearer, E. (2016). The modern news consumer. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.journalism.org/2016/07/07/the-modern-news-consumer/
Nisbet, M. C., Moy, P., & Scheufele, D. A. (2003, May). Religion, communication, and social capital. Paper presented to the Political Communication Division of the International Communication Association, San Diego, CA.
Oeldorf-Hirsch, A. (2018). The role of engagement in learning from active and incidentental news exposure on social media. Mass Communication and Society, 21, 225-247.
O’Sullivan, P. B., & Carr, C. T. (2017). Masspersonal communication: A model bridging the mass-interpersonal divide. New Media & Society. doi: 10.1177/1461444816686104
Papacharissi, Z. (2015). We have always been social. Social Media and Society, 1, Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2056305115581185
Pariser, E. (2011). The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web Is Changing What We Read and How We Think. London, England: The Penguin Press.
Park, C. S. (2019). Learning politics from social media: Interconnection of social media use for political news and political issue and process knowledge. Communication Studies, 70(3), 253-276.
Scheufele, D., Hardy, B., Brossard, D., Waismel-Manor, I. S., & Nisbet, E. (2006). Democracy based on bifference: Examining the links between structural heterogeneity, heterogeneity of discussion networks, and democratic citizenship. Journal of Communication, 56, 728–753. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2006.00317.x
Scheufele, D., Nisbet, M., Brossard, D., & Nisbet, E. (2004). Social structure and citizenship: Examining the impacts of social setting, network heterogeneity, and formational variables on political participation. Political Communication, 21(3), 315–338. doi: 10.1080/10584600490481389
Schulson, M. (2017, February 3). Why do so many Americans believe that Islam is a political ideology, not a religion? Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/02/03/why-do-so-many-americans-believe-that-islam-is-a-political-ideology-not-a-religion/
Sides, J. (2017). Race, Religion, and Immigration in 2016. Democracy Fund Voter Study Group. Retrieved from https://www.voterstudygroup.org/publications/2016-elections/race-religion-immigration-2016
Wohn, D. Y., & Bowe, B. J. (2014). Crystallization: How social media facilitates social construction of reality. In Proceedings of CSCW 2014 (pp. 261–264). New York, NY: ACM.
Wohn, D. Y., & Bowe, B. J. (2016). Micro agenda setters : The effect of social media on young adults’ exposure to and attitude toward news. Social Media + Society. doi: 10.1177/2056305115626750
Worland, J. (2016a, September 10). The Fight Over the Dakota Access Pipeline Could Be the Next Keystone. Fortune. Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2016/09/10/dakota-access-pipeline-keystone/
Worland, J. (2016b, October 28). What to know about the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Time. Retreived from http://time.com/4548566/dakota-access-pipeline-standing-rock-sioux/
Zapotosky, M. (2017, June 5). Trump’s latest tweets will probably hurt effort to restore travel ban. Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trumps-latest-tweets-could-hurt-effort-to-restore-travel-ban/2017/06/05/c8eb5940-49e8-11e7-bc1b-fddbd8359dee_story.html
LicenseAuthors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).