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Flow, Diversity, Form, and Influence of Political Talk in Social-Media-Based Public Forums

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Abstract

By investigating social-media-based public forums and using network and content analyses, this study explores how political discussions flow, how diverse they are, and what forms of political discussions are influential. The results suggest that the flow of political discussions is not notably centralized and cliquish. Participants refer primarily to the remarks of like-minded fellow citizens. Political discussions are more emotional than cognitive and express more anger than anxiety, but it appears that cognitive discussions are more influential than emotional ones. Among cognitive components, assertive and strong discussions have greater influence than analytical ones. These results have implications for the practice of citizenship and the theory of selective exposure as well as for future directions in political communication research.

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