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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 9 substitution we can expect a supplementary effect and a mobilization of the accessors in general. Do Internet users change their general political communication more than non-users? Table 4: Changes in general activites (offline + online) between 1 st and 2 nd wave Changes 1 st – 2 nd survey Activities Accessors ' Accessors vs. non-users Non-users Information communication Newspaper reading (–) (<) (–) Interest in political newspaper content –** (>) –** Watching TV-news (–) (>) (–) Interpersonal communication Contacting politicians overall (–) (<) (+) Talking about politics overall +** >* +* Participation communication Participating in demonstrations 0 (>) (–) Participating in assemblies (–) (<) (+) Contacting local administration (+) (>) (–) Writing letters to the editor overall (+) >* (–) Signing petitions overall (–) (<) (–) +: increase from 1 st to 2 nd wave; –: decrease from 1 st to 2 nd wave; * p <.05; ** p < .01 The data in table 5 are partly in favor of a supplementary hypothesis. The middle column shows the delta in the change over time between our two groups. To the left and right we see now the absolute change for both groups over time (+ for an increase, – for a decrease in activity). In the rows we cumulated online- and offline-activities wherever this is possible. For instance: contacting media in a political context contains online- as well as offline-acitivities. Participating in demonstrations on the contrary can be done offline only. If we sum up all activities it can be shown that all significant changes in activities are positive in favour of accessors. If we take a closer look at these two significant changing activities – talking about politics and contacting media about a political problem – there is a plausible explanation for an incline in those activities. They can be done by use of commonly employed online-media – e-mail, chat and discussion boards. It seems that political online communication can be stimulated particularly by common communication channels with which people are experienced by use in private interpersonal communication. The most effective means of online-communication get used also in political contexts. 4.4 Causes of Changes: To What Extent can Changes in Political Communication be Explained by Online Access? Now to the core question: to what extent can the different changes in political communication be explained by internet access? In other words: What are – besides online access – the variables that may lead to changes in political communication of the group of the “accessors”?

Authors: Emmer, Martin. and Vowe, Gerhard.
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ICA-6-10602
9
substitution we can expect a supplementary effect and a mobilization of the accessors in
general. Do Internet users change their general political communication more than non-users?

Table 4: Changes in general activites (offline + online) between 1
st
and 2
nd
wave
Changes 1
st
– 2
nd
survey
Activities
Accessors
'
Accessors vs.
non-users
Non-users
Information communication
Newspaper reading
(–) (<) (–)
Interest in political newspaper content
–**
(>)
–**
Watching
TV-news
(–) (>) (–)
Interpersonal communication
Contacting politicians overall
(–)
(<)
(+)
Talking about politics overall
+**
>*
+*
Participation communication
Participating in demonstrations
0
(>)
(–)
Participating in assemblies
(–)
(<)
(+)
Contacting local administration
(+)
(>)
(–)
Writing letters to the editor overall
(+)
>*
(–)
Signing petitions overall
(–)
(<)
(–)
+: increase from 1
st
to 2
nd
wave; –: decrease from 1
st
to 2
nd
wave; * p <.05; ** p < .01
The data in table 5 are partly in favor of a supplementary hypothesis. The middle column
shows the delta in the change over time between our two groups. To the left and right we see
now the absolute change for both groups over time (+ for an increase, – for a decrease in
activity). In the rows we cumulated online- and offline-activities wherever this is possible. For
instance: contacting media in a political context contains online- as well as offline-acitivities.
Participating in demonstrations on the contrary can be done offline only.
If we sum up all activities it can be shown that all significant changes in activities are positive
in favour of accessors. If we take a closer look at these two significant changing activities –
talking about politics and contacting media about a political problem – there is a plausible
explanation for an incline in those activities. They can be done by use of commonly employed
online-media – e-mail, chat and discussion boards. It seems that political online
communication can be stimulated particularly by common communication channels with
which people are experienced by use in private interpersonal communication. The most
effective means of online-communication get used also in political contexts.
4.4 Causes of Changes: To What Extent can Changes in Political Communication be
Explained by Online Access?
Now to the core question: to what extent can the different changes in political communication
be explained by internet access? In other words: What are – besides online access – the
variables that may lead to changes in political communication of the group of the
“accessors”?


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