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Understanding the Internet’s Impact on International Knowledge and Engagement: News Attention, Social Media Use, and the 2010 Haitian Earthquake
Unformatted Document Text:  18 beta for social media use (.110, p < .001). Using social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook to communicate about the earthquake emerged as the third-strongest predictor of international involvement in terms of likelihood of donating to the relief effort. Together, the findings in Table 3 offer interesting findings about the relationship among media use, digital media technology, and willingness to be involved in an international relief effort. News attention, e-mail use, and social media use emerged as the three strongest predictors of international involvement. Interestingly, the strongest variables in this regression had little effect on international news knowledge. And likewise, the strongest predictors of international knowledge were not nearly as powerful in predicting international involvement. One explanation for these patterns of findings is that people engage with Internet media technology much differently depending on the type of civic participation measured. People who had stronger general knowledge and interest in public affairs news were more likely to have that interest activated by exposure to news about the Haitian earthquake. However, when considering involvement, people who invested the time to pay attention to the same news and who participated with family, friends, and colleagues in mediated discussion about the event were much more likely to have a willingness to participate in the relief effort. Overall, Tables 2 and 3 offer a portrait of the media’s influence on international knowledge and international involvement. The media had a different impact depending on the criterion variable, type of use measured, type of media measured, and how people engaged media content. Among media variables, exposure to media coverage of the Haitian earthquake on the Internet, cable TV, network TV, and the radio were most likely to predict general international news knowledge. News attention to this discrete event was not very effective at closing the traditional knowledge gap for a broader set of international knowledge questions. However, news attention and mediated interpersonal discussion measures of e-mail, text, and social media use emerged as the strongest independent predictors of international involvement. People were more likely to engage with media

Authors: Martin, Jason A..
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18 
 
beta for social media use (.110, p < .001). Using social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook 
to communicate about the earthquake emerged as the third-strongest predictor of international 
involvement in terms of likelihood of donating to the relief effort. 
 
Together, the findings in Table 3 offer interesting findings about the relationship among 
media use, digital media technology, and willingness to be involved in an international relief effort. 
News attention, e-mail use, and social media use emerged as the  three strongest predictors of 
international involvement. Interestingly, the strongest variables in this regression had little effect on 
international news knowledge. And likewise, the strongest predictors of international knowledge 
were not nearly as powerful in predicting international involvement.  
One explanation for these patterns of findings is that people engage with Internet media 
technology much differently depending on the type of civic participation measured. People who had 
stronger general knowledge and interest in public affairs news were more likely to have that interest 
activated by exposure to news about the Haitian earthquake. However, when considering 
involvement, people who invested the time to pay attention to the same news and who participated 
with family, friends, and colleagues in mediated discussion about the event were much more likely to 
have a willingness to participate in the relief effort. 
 
Overall, Tables 2 and 3 offer a portrait of the media’s influence on international knowledge 
and international involvement. The media had a different impact depending on the criterion variable, 
type of use measured, type of media measured, and how people engaged media content. Among 
media variables, exposure to media coverage of the Haitian earthquake on the Internet, cable TV, 
network TV, and the radio were most likely to predict general international news knowledge. News 
attention to this discrete event was not very effective at closing the traditional knowledge gap for a 
broader set of international knowledge questions. However, news attention and mediated 
interpersonal discussion measures of e-mail, text, and social media use emerged as the strongest 
independent predictors of international involvement. People were more likely to engage with media 


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