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How the Internet Affects Political Communication of Individuals - A Longitudinal Survey of Onliners and Offliners
Unformatted Document Text:  ICA-6-10602 8 of the „accessors“ and the change of the „permanent non-users“ from the first to the second survey. Before we saw a difference in political communication between Internet users and non-users in general. But can we observe not only a difference but a change in activity after getting online-access? First we check for substitutive effects. Do Internet users change their conventional political communication? Table 3: Delta of changes of conventional political communication from 1 st to 2 nd wave between accessors and non-users Changes 1 st – 2 nd survey Activities ' Number of active Citizens ' Intensity of activities Information communication Newspaper reading (+) (–) Interest in political newspaper content (–) (+) Watching TV-news +* (+) Interpersonal communication Contacting politicians (–) –* Talking about politics (–) (–) Participation communication Participating in demonstrations +* (+) Participating in assemblies (–) (–) Take action in assemblies (–) –* Contacting local administration (+) (+) Writing letters to the editor (–) (+) Signing petitions (–) (+) +: increase from 1 st to 2 nd wave; –: decrease from 1 st to 2 nd wave; * p <.05 If we observe the relative change of differences between our two groups, we have to reject the hypothesis of a substitution of conventional activities by online-activities. After getting online-access the number of active accessors increases significantly in relation to the non- users. The basis of the political active people broadens in the field of participating in demonstrations and of watching tv-news. All other activities show no significant change. But regarding the frequency of political communication („how often did you ...“) a different image occurs: most of the conventional activities show no significant deltas, but the intensity of two activities declines: conventional contact with politicians and taking action in town hall meetings. Summed up we see no consistent decline of conventional activities: a decline in intensity is outweighed by a growing number of conventionally active online-users. What happens if we take a look at the sum of all political activities let they be by means of conventional or online-communication? According to the rejection of the hypothesis of

Authors: Emmer, Martin. and Vowe, Gerhard.
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ICA-6-10602
8
of the „accessors“ and the change of the „permanent non-users“ from the first to the second
survey.
Before we saw a difference in political communication between Internet users and non-users
in general. But can we observe not only a difference but a change in activity after getting
online-access? First we check for substitutive effects. Do Internet users change their
conventional political communication?

Table 3: Delta of changes of conventional political communication
from 1
st
to 2
nd
wave between accessors and non-users
Changes 1
st
– 2
nd
survey
Activities
'
Number of
active Citizens
'
Intensity of
activities
Information communication
Newspaper reading
(+)
(–)
Interest in political newspaper content
(–)
(+)
Watching TV-news
+*
(+)
Interpersonal communication
Contacting politicians
(–)
–*
Talking about politics
(–)
(–)
Participation communication
Participating in demonstrations
+*
(+)
Participating in assemblies
(–)
(–)
Take action in assemblies
(–)
–*
Contacting local administration
(+)
(+)
Writing letters to the editor
(–)
(+)
Signing petitions
(–)
(+)
+: increase from 1
st
to 2
nd
wave; –: decrease from 1
st
to 2
nd
wave; * p <.05
If we observe the relative change of differences between our two groups, we have to reject the
hypothesis of a substitution of conventional activities by online-activities. After getting
online-access the number of active accessors increases significantly in relation to the non-
users. The basis of the political active people broadens in the field of participating in
demonstrations and of watching tv-news. All other activities show no significant change. But
regarding the frequency of political communication („how often did you ...“) a different
image occurs: most of the conventional activities show no significant deltas, but the intensity
of two activities declines: conventional contact with politicians and taking action in town hall
meetings.
Summed up we see no consistent decline of conventional activities: a decline in intensity is
outweighed by a growing number of conventionally active online-users.
What happens if we take a look at the sum of all political activities let they be by means of
conventional or online-communication? According to the rejection of the hypothesis of


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