Title: Mobile communication and political participation: unravelling the effects of mobile phones on political expression and offline participation among young people

Authors: Hua Pang

Addresses: Institute of Media and Communication, Dresden University of Technology, Zellescher Weg 17, Dresden, 01069, Germany

Abstract: In recent years, mobile devices have dramatically transformed the landscape of political communication by expanding individuals' access to political information and their opportunities to express their own opinions among network ties. Previous research has already established a connection between informational uses of the mobile phone and the engagement in the civic and political spheres of social life. Consistent with this line of research, this study examined how various patterns of cell phone use affect the levels of political expression as well as offline participation, presenting a portrait of a new type of mobile political communication in the context of China. Hierarchical regression analysis reveals that reading news and tweeting via mobile phones were positively associated with political expression. Moreover, results indicate that mobile-based political expression had direct effects on offline political participation. Furthermore, results validate political expression as a mediator between certain mobile phone use and offline political participation. Finally, the study discusses the implications and limitation for future research.

Keywords: mobile devices; social networking sites; political communication; political expression; offline political participation; young people; China.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEG.2018.091262

International Journal of Electronic Governance, 2018 Vol.10 No.1, pp.3 - 23

Accepted: 08 May 2017
Published online: 19 Apr 2018 *

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