Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2016

Abstract

Drawing on the theoretical view of cyberspace’s role in engagement in public discourse and civic activities, the current study investigates how social media use is related to public discourse and civic engagement in mainland China. Moreover, we examine how political interest, general trust in people, and life satisfaction modify the interdependence of social media use and public discourse and civic engagement. Data analyses based on a survey of 1, 202 online Chinese show that social media use is significantly related to both public discourse and civic engagement. In addition, political interest has a consistent, strong modification on the role of social media use in public discourse and civic engagement. Both general trust in people and life satisfaction moderate some of the relationships examined but not all of them. Theoretical and empirical implications of the results are discussed.

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