Social media websites are rapidly changing the way that Americans live and communicate with one another. Social media sites encourage individuals to constantly share information about one’s self (and constantly seek information about others) that would have been private in the past. This experience can alter how an individual views the world in ways that political scientists have not been able to fully capture. In a cross-sectional survey of the American public I find a strong correlation between the use of Facebook and personal blogs and support for civil liberties. Individuals who spend more time self-publicizing on the Internet seem to value freedom of expression more, but also value the right to privacy less than individuals who use social media less often. This pattern suggests that technology may be altering American attitudes on basic democratic values and highlights the need for dynamic research designs that account for the causal effect Internet use may have on individual political development.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 4, 2012
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