Socially networked heterogeneity : the influence of WhatsApp as a social networking site on polarisation in Kenya

Kibet, A and Ward, SJ 2019, 'Socially networked heterogeneity : the influence of WhatsApp as a social networking site on polarisation in Kenya' , African Journalism Studies, 39 (4) , pp. 42-66.

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Abstract

Using a cross-sectional survey of two sampled counties in Kenya, this article analyses whether social networking sites reflect social network heterogeneity. It then examines how social network heterogeneity influences polarisation in Kenya. Three types of polarisation are examined: party, ethnic and ideological (around county resources). The study focuses specifically on the public WhatsApp platform (the most popular SNS in Kenya). To assess this empirical data, theoretical perspectives are drawn from the literatures on incidental and selective exposure and their impact on political polarisation. The findings indicate that the randomised composition of a WhatsApp group through public links indeed reflects social network heterogeneity. The findings further show that posting political news, obtaining political news and commenting on political news influence social network heterogeneity to some degree. This social network heterogeneity was also found to influence all three (party, ideological and ethnic) types of polarisation in varying but significant degrees.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: African Journalism Studies
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 2374-3670
Related URLs:
Depositing User: SJ Ward
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2018 11:21
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2019 21:03
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/48874

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