AAAI Publications, Sixth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media

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Social Media and Citizen Engagement in a City-State: A Study of Singapore
Marko M. Skoric, Ji Pan, Nathaniel D Poor

Last modified: 2012-05-20

Abstract


Social media plays an important role in the process of political engagement, especially in societies where significant constraints over traditional media and participation still exist. Little is known about how social media use is related to these constraints. This study examines how citizens’ perceptions of government control predict social media use and how this use is related to offline participation in the context of a city-state, Singapore. Based on a national survey of 2000 respondents, we found that perceptions of control over traditional media and political activity increase content production on social media and that perceived control of the mass media motivates citizens to consume political content on social media. Interestingly, perceptions of government control over the Internet reduced rather than increased social media production. More importantly, we find that social media use is related to a greater likelihood of offline citizen participation, namely attendance of political rallies. The findings suggest that social media alters the balance of power in the dependency relationships that exist between the government, media organizations and citizens, creating new venues for online political discourse which in turn help promote real-world political participation.

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