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Title: The artificial fulfilment of need for orientation: agenda-setting and salience of community news in Twitter

Authors: Albaraa F. Altourah; Khin-Wee Chen

Addresses: Mass Communication and Media Department, Gulf University for Science and Technology, Kuwait ' Mass Communication and Media Department, Gulf University for Science and Technology, Kuwait

Abstract: Social media is increasingly the dominant news source and the need to understand what drives people's consumption of online news during this era of disinformation is important and urgent. McCombs (2004) identified 'civic duty, emotional arousal, personal interest, peer influence and self-interest' as the factors compelling the information 'need for orientation' (54). However, the ubiquity of online social media makes it is pertinent to investigate the existence of other hidden factors impacting the perception of relevance. This study, sampling Twitter data from France and Kuwait for content analysis, compares two contrasting socio-cultural settings to explore the agenda-setting effects on Twitter to ascertain how the levels of need for orientation (NFO) may be manipulated and finds that the NFO levels have been manipulated by Twitter exposure and agenda-setting effects, which increase the users' uncertainty level and in turn leads to a homogenising effect of the Twitter public agenda as a result of the increased rate of conversations related to the affected topics.

Keywords: Twitter; need for orientation; NFO; agenda setting effects; France; Kuwait; issue salience; content analysis.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2020.105122

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2020 Vol.16 No.1, pp.72 - 91

Received: 15 Apr 2019
Accepted: 05 Jun 2019

Published online: 07 Feb 2020 *

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