Getting political on social network sites: Exploring online political discourse on Facebook

  • Matthew J. Kushin Washington State University
  • Kelin Kitchener
Keywords: Social network sites, political discussion, social media

Abstract

This study explores use of the social network site Facebook for online political discussion. Online political discussion has been criticized for isolating disagreeing persons from engaging in discussion and for having an atmosphere of uncivil discussion behavior. Analysis reveals the participation of disagreeing parties within the discussion with the large majority of posters (73 percent) expressing support for the stated position of the Facebook group, and a minority of posters (17 percent) expressing opposition to the position of the group. Despite the presence of uncivil discussion posting within the Facebook group, the large majority of discussion participation (75 percent) is devoid of flaming. Results of this study provide important groundwork and raise new questions for study of online political discussion as it occurs in the emergent Internet technologies of social network sites.

Author Biographies

Matthew J. Kushin, Washington State University
Matthew J. Kushin is a PhD candidate in the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University
Kelin Kitchener
Kelin Kitchener recently earned her MA in English from the University of Idaho
Published
2009-10-18
How to Cite
Kushin, M. J., & Kitchener, K. (2009). Getting political on social network sites: Exploring online political discourse on Facebook. First Monday, 14(11). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v14i11.2645