Social media supporting political deliberation across multiple public spheres: Towards depolarization

Bryan Semaan, Scott P. Robertson, Sara Douglas, Misa Maruyama

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper reports on a qualitative study of social media use for political deliberation by 21 U.S. citizens. In observing people's interactions in the "sprawling public sphere" across multiple social media tools in both political and nonpolitical spaces, we found that social media supported the interactional dimensions of deliberative democracy - the interaction with media and the interaction between people. People used multiple tools through which they: were serendipitously exposed to diverse political information, constructed diverse information feeds, disseminated diverse information, and engaged in respectful and reasoned political discussions with diverse audiences. When people's civic agency was inhibited when using a tool, they often adopted, or switched to, alternative media that could afford what they were trying to achieve. Contrary to the polarization perspective, we find that people were purposefully seeking diverse information and discussants. Some individuals altered their views as a result of the interactions they were having in the online public sphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCSCW 2014 - Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages1409-1421
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781450325400
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, CSCW 2014 - Baltimore, MD, United States
Duration: Feb 15 2014Feb 19 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, CSCW

Other

Other17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, CSCW 2014
CountryUnited States
CityBaltimore, MD
Period2/15/142/19/14

Keywords

  • Depolarization
  • Multi-mediation
  • Public sphere
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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  • Cite this

    Semaan, B., Robertson, S. P., Douglas, S., & Maruyama, M. (2014). Social media supporting political deliberation across multiple public spheres: Towards depolarization. In CSCW 2014 - Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (pp. 1409-1421). (Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, CSCW). Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/2531602.2531605