Netizen Mobs and Their Performance: a content analysis of participants and their political participation in Chinese online forum

Siyuan Yin

Abstract


InĀ computer-mediated communication, the importance of civility is no less than that in face to face communication. When discussions are exchanged mainly through texts, the prevalence of civil discourse could act as a stronger factor for interpersonal evaluations, while uncivilized behaviors (e.g., rude and irrational words) detract civic engagement and political participation by impeding effective online discussions. This study analyzed cross-sectional data obtained from 588 respondents in Chinese Political online forum Kaidi Community- Cat eyes Forum and textual data from each respondents postings. The social demographic variables data of each respondent were selected from an online survey conducted by a forum participant. The study assessed the impacts of social economic status, age and engagement of online participation on the level of civility of participants online performance, to reveal the composition of net mob and discuss factors that influence online performance. The study found that social classes (based on occupation) and monthly income exert no significant effect on online civilized behavior, but the specific uncivilized behavior varies with different social classes. Uncivilized behavior increases with age. The engagement of online participation did not affect the levels of civility of the participants online performance. The study contributed a new approach to discussing the Internet, Chinese netizens and their implications for the construction of civil society in China.

Keywords


political online forum; civil performance; social economic status; age; engagement of participation

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