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Research: Social Viewing Fuels Political Engagement

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In today’s digitally connected world, the phenomenon of social viewing of news is reshaping the landscape of political participation. This emerging trend, where news consumption and opinion sharing intertwine seamlessly, holds profound implications for democratic societies. A recent study by researchers at Dongguk University sheds light on the transformative potential of social viewing, identifying key factors driving increased political engagement and offering actionable insights for stakeholders across the political spectrum.

Understanding the Dynamics

Social viewing of news represents a paradigm shift in how individuals engage with information and express their views. Enabled by advancements in technology, platforms offering live-streaming of news content coupled with interactive features facilitate real-time dialogue among viewers. This dynamic environment fosters a sense of community and empowers citizens to actively participate in shaping the political discourse.

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Professor Yonghwan Kim and his team at Dongguk University embarked on a pioneering journey to unravel the mechanisms underpinning the relationship between social viewing and political participation. Their groundbreaking research, published in Computers in Human Behavior, unveils the pivotal role of three mediating factors: information acquisition, self-expression, and partisan identity.

The Power of Information and Expression

Through meticulously designed online surveys conducted before the 2022 presidential election in South Korea, the researchers unearthed compelling insights. It was revealed that individuals who frequently engage in social viewing of news exhibit a heightened propensity for acquiring diverse knowledge and expressing their opinions freely. This enhanced information environment not only deepens their attachment to specific political ideologies but also serves as a catalyst for increased political involvement.

Nurturing Democratic Deliberation

The implications of these findings reverberate far beyond academic circles. They underscore the potential of social viewing as a catalyst for fostering democratic deliberation and citizen engagement. News organizations and digital platforms alike are presented with a unique opportunity to leverage the power of social viewing to enrich political discourse and amplify civic participation.

Mitigating Polarization Risks

While the benefits of social viewing are profound, concerns regarding the exacerbation of partisan polarization linger. Professor Kim emphasizes the importance of exposure to diverse perspectives in mitigating polarization risks. He advocates for the implementation of measures to uphold the quality of online discussions, ensuring an inclusive and respectful discourse environment conducive to robust democratic engagement.

Redefining Media and Democracy

the study by Dongguk University researchers heralds a new era in our understanding of media consumption and its implications for democracy. By illuminating the transformative potential of social viewing of news, the research offers actionable insights for policymakers, media organizations, and citizens alike. Embracing the ethos of social viewing holds the key to redefining the contours of political participation and fostering a vibrant and inclusive democratic ecosystem.

 

Ref:  Orignal Reseach by Professor Yonghwan Kim

  • Yonghwan Kim is a Professor at Dongguk University, Seoul, focusing on digital media and journalism.
  • Yi Wang, a doctoral candidate at the same university, studies media effects and political communication.
  • Han Lin, an assistant professor at Soochow University, China, specializes in political communication and news fact-checking.
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