Spiral of silence online: How online communication affects opinion climate perception and opinion expression regarding the climate change debate

Pablo Porten-Cheé, Christiane Eilders

Abstract


This study tests the spiral of silence theory under conditions of online communication. It is argued that a preference for user-generated content may result in different perceptions of the opinion climate than a preference for mass media. This may also affect willingness to speak out in public. This study tested the effects of selective exposure to information regarding climate change in Germany. The individual media diets were derived from online diaries and content analyses. The findings show no support for the spiral of silence theory. Individuals who see themselves in the minority were even more likely to express their opinions.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scoms.2015.03.002


Keywords


Spiral of silence; Selective exposure; Online communication; Online diary; Climate change

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Copyright (c) 2015 Swiss Association of Communication and Media Research and Università della Svizzera italiana. Published by Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.



Studies in Communication Sciences | ISSN: 1424-4896