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Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(4), 68; doi:10.3390/socsci5040068

Angry and Alone: Demographic Characteristics of Those Who Post to Online Comment Sections

Department of Politics & Government, Pacific Lutheran University, 12180 Park Avenue South, Tacoma, WA 98447, USA
Academic Editor: Terri Towner
Received: 30 June 2016 / Revised: 3 September 2016 / Accepted: 18 October 2016 / Published: 26 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Media and Political Participation)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [202 KB, uploaded 26 October 2016]

Abstract

The Internet and social media afford individuals the opportunity to post their thoughts instantaneously and largely without filters. While this has tremendous democratic potential, it also raises questions about the quality of the discourse these technological changes portend. Online comment sections may be a particularly unique form of communication within social media to investigate because of their ubiquitous and often anonymous nature. A longitudinal examination of Pew Center data over the course of 4 years suggests that there are demographic differences between people who post and those who do not post to online comment sections. Specifically, in 2008 and 2010 regression analysis demonstrates there is an increased likelihood of posting among men, the unmarried, and the unemployed. However, the 2012 data tells a different story and suggests the possibility that the nature of comment sections might be changing. The findings have important implications for understanding the character of online discourse as well as the vitriol undergirding the political attitudes of disaffected citizens. View Full-Text
Keywords: social media; new media; internet; political participation; civic participation; elections; campaigns; politics; mass media social media; new media; internet; political participation; civic participation; elections; campaigns; politics; mass media
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Artime, M. Angry and Alone: Demographic Characteristics of Those Who Post to Online Comment Sections. Soc. Sci. 2016, 5, 68.

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