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Title: Effects of spiral of silence and message civility on modes of opinion expression on Facebook
Authors: Zhang, Alex Meng Ren
Ko, Jeremy Sheng Wei
Low, Wei Xiang
Tan, Kay Su Yi
Keywords: DRNTU::Social sciences::Communication::Communication theories and models
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: This study investigates aspects of Spiral of Silence theory and message civility in the social networking site, Facebook. Facebook was chosen as it is the most popular social networking site globally, has features which allow opinion expression in a sequential format, and requires its users to engage in opinion expression with their personal profiles, making anonymity difficult. These features make opinion expression on Facebook similar to some aspects of offline opinion expression. In addition, Facebook also allows users to indicate support for a post through the ‘like’ and ‘share’ buttons. Dubbed “click speech”, they can be considered new forms of opinion expression that represent a rising trend in social media. The effects of the Spiral of Silence — in particular, fear of isolation and opinion congruence — along with message civility were studied using a 2 x 2 between-subject experiment. A web-based survey format was used to examine the influence of these factors on participants’ likelihood to like, comment on or share the link in Facebook, as well as comment offline in subsequent conversations. 502 undergraduates between 21 - 26 years of age were recruited and randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions. Results indicate that fear of isolation increased the likelihood of commenting on Facebook posts. Also, a civil climate increased the likelihood of liking comments on Facebook posts. Findings suggest that “click-speech” could be considered a form of opinion expression and could be compared to other forms of online opinion expression. Keywords: Facebook, Spiral of Silence, fear of isolation, opinion congruence, civility
Rights: Nanyang Technological University
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:WKWSCI Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI/CA)

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