Personal and political elements of the use of social networking sites.

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Introduction. Social networking sites have become an important part of the lives of millions of Internet users because they allow people without any particular technical knowledge to create an online profile and to communicate and share information with others thus becoming a central platform for the creation of political discourse. The current study examines both personal and political aspects of social networking sites use by exploring the relationship between SNS use and the following elements: (1) personal motivations; (2) social network intensity; (3) political motivations; (4) political self-efficacy, and (5) political engagement. Method. The study was conducted over two months (October-November 2012) using a survey. The population of the study consisted of 155 Israeli Information Science students. Results. Findings from the study show that social networking sites have yet to become significant enough in the users' information environment to have an impact on political behaviors since no significant relationship were found between social networking sites and political self-efficacy and political engagement. Political motivations for these social media sites were revealed as a central element that influences both political engagement and political self-efficacy. In addition, this study reaffirms the social networking sites' role as platforms for the creation and maintenance of online social connections. Conclusions. The study shows that politically motivated participants accessed social networking sites for purposes related to political information and engagement and not for socialization purposes. It also extends the existing literature on personal elements of social networking sites' use and shows that as a result of their availability and ease of use social networking sites' have become a socially motivated platform
Original languageAmerican English
Article numberisic23
Pages (from-to)54-67
JournalInformation Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015


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