ARTICLE: Online news sharing is an act of relational communication

Picture: Insadong by Mario Sánchez Prada, license CC BY-SA 2.0, cropped

Online news sharing behaviors are a type of communication used for forming relationships and managing impressions, new research states. Jennifer Ihm, of Kwangwoon University, and Eun-mee Kim, of Seoul National University, studied online news sharing on mobile instant messengers (MIM) and social networking sites (SNS).

Researchers did a survey for 400 Korean people who had shared news. The participants were asked to describe their ten most commonly used mobile chat groups and two social networking services. They were then shown different articles and asked about their intention to share it.

Online news sharing behavior is an act of relational communication, the article states. Individuals who are highly motivated by self-presentation share news online more than others. People are also selective in sharing the news: they do it when they perceive that the news content fits the audience’s interests and that the audience is responsive to such messages, Ihm and Kim explain.

When using social networking sites, participants were more cautious about their audiences’ connections with other users. Using mobile messengers, people with higher motivation for self-presentation did not react to any audience characteristics (news fits audiences’ interests, receptivity of the audience, and connectivity). News sharing seems to serve different self-presentational purposes in these environments.

The article “The hidden side of news diffusion” was published in New Media & Society and is available on the publisher’s website (free abstract).

Picture: Insadong by Mario Sánchez Prada, license CC BY-SA 2.0, cropped

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