Discussion Network Heterogeneity Matters: Examining a Moderated Mediation Model of Social Media Use and Civic Engagement
Employing original two-wave national panel survey data, this study examines the mediating role of discussion network heterogeneity on social media in the relationship between social media use for news/information and civic engagement. This study also investigates whether such indirect effects of social media use on civic participation are contingent on individuals’ extraversion personality. The results indicate that discussion network heterogeneity mediates the relationship between citizens’ social media use for news/information and their civic engagement. In other words, social media use for information positively influences individuals’ discussion network heterogeneity on social network sites, which consequently contributes to increased levels of civic engagement. In addition, this indirect effect of social media use on civic participation through network heterogeneity is stronger for introverted individuals. The implications of these findings are discussed.