Social media and collective action participation: A socio-psychological investigation
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This thesis investigates effects of social media on collective action participation by addressing selection bias, disentangling social media mechanisms, analyzing mediating socio-psychological factors, and examining cumulative and social network effects. Utilizing a survey on a large scale street demonstration in Taiwan, I propose a structural-cognitive model to explain the effects of social media. I find that social media expression, rather than social media information, predicts protest participation. The effect is curvilinear and not due to various possible selection bias. Social media expression increases levels of identification, friend positive incentive, and individual efficacy, which in turn lead to protest participation. Furthermore, social media activates networks supportive of protest and plays an important role in cumulative effects of protest. It increases not only intentions to attend protests in the future, but also intentions to organize protests. My results suggest social media as a new mobilization structure that changes psychological states of individuals, which broadens the pool of collective action sympathizers and produce long-term effects. Social media fundamentally changes the composition of individuals in a society that is conducive to collective action. The study demonstrates how a synthetic framework between disciplines of sociology, psychology, and communication enable a holistic understanding of collective action.
- Sociology