Sebastián Valenzuela, Teresa Correa & Homero Gil de Zúñiga
Sebastián Valenzuela is Associate Professor, School of Communications, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
Teresa Correa is Associate Professor, College of Communication and Literature, Diego Portales University.
Homero Gil de Zúñiga is Medienwandel Professor, Department of Communication, University of Vienna & Research Fellow, College of Communication and Literature, Diego Portales University.
Address correspondence to Sebastián Valenzuela, Associate Professor, School of Communications, Pontificia
Based on the theoretical concepts of social networks and technology affordances, this article argues that different social media platforms influence political participation through unique, yet complementary, routes. More specifically, it proposes that Facebook and Twitter are conducive to protest behavior through two distinct mechanisms: whereas the influence of Facebook use is more effective through communication with strong-tie networks, the impact of Twitter use is more effective through communication with weak-tie networks. To test these expectations, we analyze data from a cross-sectional, face-to-face survey on a representative sample of Chilean youths conducted in 2014. Findings in the study lend empirical support for these hypotheses. Consequently, while different social media (in this case, Facebook and Twitter) are similar in their participatory effects, the paths through which this influence occurs are distinct, a finding that highlights the importance of studying political behavior across different media platforms.