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Citizens' Political Information Behaviors during Elections on Twitter in South Korea

Title: Citizens' Political Information Behaviors during Elections on Twitter in South Korea: Information Worlds of Opinion Leaders.
Name(s): Lee, Jisue, author
Mon, Lorri M., professor directing dissertation
Rohlinger, Deana A., university representative
Burnett, Gary, 1955-, committee member
Hinnant, Charles C. (Charles Christopher), committee member
Florida State University, degree granting institution
College of Communication and Information, degree granting college
School of Information, degree granting department
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2016
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource (188 pages)
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This research investigated South Korean citizens' political information behaviors on Twitter during the 2014 Seoul Mayoral election. By using the mixed methods design of network analysis, tweet content analysis, and interviews, this research examined how citizens collaboratively engaged in the political communication and deliberation via Twitter during an election campaign. Intensive interviews with 13 citizen opinion leaders on Twitter provided the insights into understanding how their perceived societal types, norms, and perception of information value led to certain information sharing behaviors. Also explored was the dynamics of interactions within the virtual public sphere of Twitter as reflected in the conflicts and synergies of multiple information worlds. The Theory of Information Worlds (Jaeger & Burnett, 2010) was used to better understand the current phenomenon of citizens' virtual political communication and deliberation via social media. This research was the first to apply the Theory of Information Worlds into an empirical study examining social worlds of Twitter. This mixed methods research reported both quantitative and qualitative findings identified through the lens of Theory of Information Worlds. Findings from the perspective of network and tweet content analysis demonstrated what information citizens discussed and shared and how they engaged in the collaborative information sharing behaviors (e.g., selective information exposure and/or avoidance) driven by perceived social types, norms, and the perception of information values—opposing political orientations. The separated information worlds were clearly observed through the boundaries between two groups of citizens sharing respective political orientation. The qualitative findings from semi-structured interviews particularly featured how individuals considered as the same social type (e.g., media representatives) interpreted the shared social and/or occupational norms and differently applied them into particular information behaviors. The alteration in interpreting social and/or occupational norms resulted in the creation of conflicts as well as synergies within, between, and across the information worlds. In particular, use of a variety of interview modes in this research (i.e., emails, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) programs, and face-to-face interviews) offered practical strategies, implications, benefits, and drawbacks of interviewing social media users. This research demonstrated the increasing importance of conducting qualitative interviews with social media users in the era of Internet research as well as it suggested a number of practical strategies for how to design, conduct, and analyze intensive interviews. The strategies included the process of identifying purposive set of subjects, recruiting participants, interview scheduling, participant retention, recording, transcribing, translation of the responses, and presentation of the results. Overall, this research attempted to achieve three goals: 1) to provide a holistic and comprehensive view of South Korean citizens' collaborative political information behaviors via Twitter during the election campaign; 2) to investigate the possibility of application of the theory of Information Worlds; and 3) to highlight the importance of using mixed methods design for researching individuals' political information behaviors via social media platforms. Given the lack of research from non-Western politically less stable countries, this case study from South Korean election provided richer empirical findings to the growing body of knowledge.
Identifier: FSU_2016SP_Lee_fsu_0071E_13138 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the School of Information in partial fulfillment of the Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester 2016.
Date of Defense: April 11, 2016.
Keywords: Information Behaviors, Mixed Methods, Opinion Leaders, Political Communication, Social Media, Theory of Information Worlds
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Lorri Mon, Professor Directing Dissertation; Deana Rohlinger, University Representative; Gary Burnett, Committee Member; Charles C. Hinnant, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Information science
Political science
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Lee, J. (2016). Citizens' Political Information Behaviors during Elections on Twitter in South Korea: Information Worlds of Opinion Leaders. Retrieved from