Social network sites and political protest: an analysis of the moderating role of socioeconomic status and political group membership

Redes sociales y protesta política: un análisis del rol moderador del estatus socioeconómico y la pertenencia a grupos políticos

doxa.comunicación | 30, pp. 55-77 | 55

January-June of 2020

ISSN: 1696-019X / e-ISSN: 2386-3978

How to cite this article:

Zumárraga-Espinosa, M. (2020). Social network sites and political protest: an analysis of the moderating role of socioeconomic status and political group membership. Doxa Comunicación, 30, pp. 55-77.

https://doi.org/10.31921/doxacom.n30a3

Marcos Zumárraga-Espinosa. Master in Public Management by the Institute of High National Studies (IAEN- Ecuador) and Economist by the Central University of Ecuador (UCE). Research professor at the Salesian Polytechnic University, Ecuador (UPS). Member of the Psychosocial Research Group (GIPS-UPS) and the Educational Innovation Group (GIE-UPS) of Vocational and Professional Orientation. Director of the research project “Online and offline political participation: relationships and psychosocial variables” in which the presented article is framed. His main research interests are: offline and online political behaviour, academic performance and university desertion, ecological behaviours and behavioural economics.

Salesian Polytechnic University, Ecuador

mzumarraga@ups.edu.ec

ORCID: 0000-0001-9930-9005

Abstract:

This research examines the association between the political use of social media and participation in political protest activities at individual level, as well as the moderating effect that socioeconomic status and membership to political groups exert on this relationship. To test the raised hypotheses, the study uses survey data collected in Quito, Ecuador (N = 1520) in 2018. The main results are: i) the use of social network sites (Facebook, Twitter) for the consumption of political information and political expression positively influences protest behaviour; ii) this mobilizing effect is intensified in people of lower socio-economic status and with a higher degree of participation in offline political groups; iii) the strength of the moderation relationships described is modified depending on the digital platform being used politically. Finally, the implications of the findings around the debate on social media, political communication and democracy are discussed.

Keywords:

Political participation; social media; socio-economic status; political protest; political group membership.

Resumen:

En esta investigación se examina la asociación entre el uso político de redes sociales y la participación en actividades de protesta políti-ca a nivel individual, así como el efecto moderador que sobre esta relación ejercen el estatus socioeconómico y la pertenencia a grupos políticos. Para probar las hipótesis planteadas se emplearon datos de encuestas aplicadas en Quito, Ecuador (N = 1520) en el año 2018. Los principales resultados son los siguientes: i) el uso de redes sociales (Facebook, Twitter) para el consumo de información y la expresión política influye positivamente sobre el comportamiento de protesta; ii) este efecto movilizador se intensifica en las personas de menor nivel socioeconómico y con mayor grado de participación en agrupa-ciones políticas offline; iii) la fuerza de las relaciones de moderación descritas se modifica dependiendo de la plataforma digital que se emplee políticamente. Finalmente se discuten las implicaciones de los hallazgos en torno al debate sobre redes sociales, comunicación política y democracia.

Palabras clave:

Participación política; redes sociales; estatus socioeconómico; protesta política; pertenencia a grupos políticos.

Received: 01/11/2019 - Accepted: 23/02/2020

Recibido: 01/11/2019 - Aceptado: 23/02/2020