Ties, Likes, and Tweets: Using Strong and Weak Ties to Explain Differences in Protest Participation Across Facebook and Twitter Use

Sebastián Valenzuela, Teresa Correa, Homero Gil de Zúñiga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

Based on the theoretical concepts of social networks and technology affordances, this article argues that different social media platforms influence political participation through unique, yet complementary, routes. More specifically, it proposes that Facebook and Twitter are conducive to protest behavior through two distinct mechanisms: whereas the influence of Facebook use is more effective through communication with strong-tie networks, the impact of Twitter use is more effective through communication with weak-tie networks. To test these expectations, we analyze data from a cross-sectional, face-to-face survey on a representative sample of Chilean youths conducted in 2014. Findings in the study lend empirical support for these hypotheses. Consequently, while different social media (in this case, Facebook and Twitter) are similar in their participatory effects, the paths through which this influence occurs are distinct, a finding that highlights the importance of studying political behavior across different media platforms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-134
Number of pages18
JournalPolitical Communication
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

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