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Use of SNSs, Political Efficacy, and Civic Engagement among Chinese College Students: Effects of Gratifications and Network Size

Qian Xu and Lingling Qi
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Qian Xu: Elon University, Elon, NC, USA
Lingling Qi: Nanjing University, Jiangsu, China

International Journal of Interactive Communication Systems and Technologies (IJICST), 2014, vol. 4, issue 1, 15-30

Abstract: Almost half of China's 564 million netizens are using social networking websites (SNSs). Based on the growing popularity of native SNSs, this study aims to examine whether the younger generation feels more actively engaged in civic and political activities. A survey of 471 Chinese college students in Mainland China explored the effects of SNS use on political efficacy and civic engagement. Among the four identified gratifications of SNS use, social connection significantly predicted internal political efficacy and political voice. Entertainment negatively predicted both external political efficacy and political voice, while information seeking had no influence on either political efficacy or civic engagement. SNS network size emerged as a positive predictor of civic engagement, including electoral activities and political voice. Intensity of SNS use had no significant effect on any of the political outcomes. The results of the study shed light on the role of SNSs in the democratization of Chinese society.

Date: 2014
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