Examining Differential Gains From Internet Use: Comparing the Moderating Role of Talk and Online Interactions

Authors

  • Bruce W. Hardy,

    Corresponding author
    1. Bruce W. Hardy is a graduate student in the Department of Communication at Cornell University. Dietram A. Scheufele is a professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Dietram A. Scheufele

    1. Bruce W. Hardy is a graduate student in the Department of Communication at Cornell University. Dietram A. Scheufele is a professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Search for more papers by this author

All correspondence regarding this article should be addressed to the first author at the Department of Communication, Cornell University, 338 Kennedy Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853; bruce.hardy@cornell.edu.

Abstract

The idea that interpersonal discussion moderates the effect of public affairs mass media on participatory behavior has been empirically supported by recent research. However, these studies focus on face-to-face conversations as the only means by which citizens discuss political issues with others. This study takes the idea one step further and not only examines the effects of face-to-face interactions, but examines the effects of computer-mediated interactions and internet hard-news use on participatory behavior. We found that not only did internet hard-news use have a positive main effect on participatory behavior, but that this effect was moderated by both face-to-face interpersonal discussion and computer-mediated interactions such as chat. This study explores explanations for this phenomenon and implications for future research.

Ancillary