Influencing Myself: Self-Reinforcement Through Online Political Expression

Jaeho Cho, Saifuddin Ahmed, Heejo Keum, Yun Jung Choi, Jong Hyuk Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Over the past decade, various online communication platforms have empowered citizens to express themselves politically. Although the political impact of online citizen expression has drawn considerable attention, research has largely focused on whether and how citizen-generated messages influence the public as an information alternative to traditional news outlets. The present study aims to provide a new perspective on understanding citizen expression by examining its political implications for the expressers themselves rather than those exposed to the expressed ideas. Data from a national survey and an online discussion forum study suggest that expressing oneself about politics provides self-reinforcing feedback. Political expressions on social media and the online forum were found to (a) reinforce the expressers’ partisan thought process and (b) harden their pre-existing political preferences. Implications for the role the Internet plays in democracy will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-111
Number of pages29
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, © The Author(s) 2016.


  • expression effects
  • polarization
  • political expression
  • self-reinforcement
  • social media


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