Communication Infrastructure, Social Media, and Civic Participation across Geographically Diverse Communities in the United States

Seungahn Nah, Hazel K. Kwon, Wenlin Liu, Jasmine E. McNealy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite a growing body of scholarship on Communication Infrastructure Theory (CIT), the applicability of CIT as an ecological approach in rural and suburban areas remains largely unexplored in comparison with its urban counterpart. The current study advances CIT across the geographically dispersed communities (i.e., urban, suburban, and rural) and explores how community storytelling networks, through social media and interpersonal discussion, interact with the diverse communities on civic participation. A nationwide online panel survey reveals that community-oriented social media (CSM) use was positively associated with civic participation. The results also indicate that the relationship between CSM and civic participation was stronger for those who reside in rural communities. Interpersonal discussion in this study played a similar role for residents living in suburban communities. This study’s theoretical contribution, policy implications, and practical applications are further discussed in the contexts of communication infrastructure, social media, and civic participation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-455
Number of pages19
JournalCommunication Studies
Volume72
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • civic participation
  • Communication infrastructure
  • community organizations
  • community social media
  • interpersonal discussion
  • local media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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