Diana C. Mutz, Ph.D., the Samuel A. Stouffer Professor of Communication and Political Science, and alumna Magdalena E. Wojcieszak (Ph.D. '08), published “Online Groups and Political Discourse: Do Online Discussion Spaces Facilitate Exposure to Political Disagreement?” in the Journal of Communication (Volume 59, Issue 1, Pages 40-56).
Abstract: To what extent do online discussion spaces expose participants to political talk and to cross-cutting political views in particular? Drawing on a representative national sample of over 1,000 Americans reporting participation in chat rooms or message boards, we examine the types of online discussion spaces that create opportunities for cross-cutting political exchanges. Our findings suggest that the potential for deliberation occurs primarily in online groups where politics comes up only incidentally, but is not the central purpose of the discussion space. We discuss the implications of our findings for the contributions of the Internet to cross-cutting political discourse.