International Journal of Internet Science

A peer reviewed open access journal for empirical findings, methodology, and theory of social and behavioral science concerning the Internet and its implications for individuals, social groups, organizations, and society.

Volume 2, Issue 1 (2007)

Being Early on the Curve: Online Practices and Expressive Political Participation
Eulàlia Puig-i-Abril & Hernando Rojas
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Life Sciences Communication

Abstract: This study examines the effects of online information seeking and social interactions in the context of early Internet adopters in Bogotá, Colombia. Data analyses of a stratified sample survey conducted in 2004 provide evidence that online news media use and online social interactions affect online political engagement. In this data there is a clear positive relationship between online information seeking, social interactions, and expressive political participation; a relationship that is particularly encouraging for societies experiencing political conflict, and in which offline political expression can be limited; yet the online domain could offer an alternative. The positive effects of the online practices on political engagement are limited to the online domain and do not (yet) spill over to the offline domain. Plausible explanations of this discrepancy between the online and the offline realms, as well as some of the antecedents of the online practices, are discussed.

Keywords: Expressive political participation, online social interactions, online news, Colombia

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