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SEARCH 6 (2) 2014


Shallow or Rational Public Spheres? Indonesian Political Parties in the Twitter-Sphere
Steve Beers

Abstract:

Despite the impressive democratic gains of the Indonesian political system since the fall of the authoritarian New Order regime, a noted weakness of the current political party system is the lack of clear ideological positions across parties and the difficulty that voters face in differentiating policy programs in order to hold parties accountable. Yet, with the increasing popularity of social media, new channels of communication are opening up between political parties and their constituents, reshaping Indonesia’s political communication landscape. This raises the question of whether these new forms of media offer spaces that allow, or even encourage, parties to articulate ideological positions and discuss issues of public concern with constituents. This paper addresses this question through a mixed-methods analysis of how political parties are using the popular social media website Twitter and how users are responding to party messaging strategies. Based on a content analysis of party messages, qualitative observation of party-constituent interactions, and a quantitative analysis of user response, the findings suggest that there is reason for modest optimism that the medium of Twitter encourages a less superficial brand of party communication. Whereas other studies have found that the goals or the size of the party as the best explanation for the social media strategy and performance, the Indonesian case suggests that parties that attempt to differentiate themselves ideologically, regardless of their ideological content, and engage the public directly perform better on Twitter. It also finds that tweets about electoral politics receive the most reaction from users. This suggests that Twitter is a medium that will reward more programmatic and engaged party messaging, with potentially positive impacts on the Indonesian political communications landscape.

Keywords: Social media, Indonesia, Indonesian political parties, political communications, Southeast Asia

Pages: 1-23 | First Published: 1 September 2014

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SEARCH 6 (2) 2014


Selective Exposure to Berita Harian Online and Utusan Malaysia Online: The Roles of Surveillance Motivation, Website Usability and Website Attractiveness
Nur Azimah Zulkafli, * Bahiyah Omar & Nor Hazlina Hashim

Abstract:

News media allows audiences to be selective in determining both their news sources and type of news stories they read. This study examined factors influencing selective exposure to the online editions of two mainstream Malaysian newspapers, Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia. Using selective exposure theory as the theoretical lens, this study compared both newspapers in terms of their audiences’ level of surveillance motivation, and how audiences rate the newspapers’ websites with respect to usability and attractiveness. This study used a within-subject experimental research design that exposed 51 subjects to both Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia online newspapers. The results of the experiment indicate that Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia online were significantly different in terms of website usability; however, no significant differences were found in terms of surveillance motivation or website attractiveness between the two newspapers. Further analysis indicate that the only significant predictor of selective exposure was website usability. This study highlights the importance of website usability for online newspapers wanting to harness audience selectivity.

Keywords: Selective exposure, online newspapers, surveillance motivation, website usability, website attractiveness

Pages: 25-45 | First Published: 1 September 2014

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SEARCH 6 (2) 2014


Motives As Predictors Of Facebook Addiction: Empirical Evidence From Somalia
* Ismail Sheikh Yusuf, Ahmed Dhaha & Abdikarim Barqadle Igale

Abstract:

Facebook (FB) has increasingly become an essential part of the lives of people, particularly youths. Youths use this site extensively, mainly for fun, interacting with friends, making new friends, and keeping in touch with old friends. FB has become a big part of their daily routine, sometimes influencing them to neglect their duties and responsibilities. Guided by the uses and gratifications theory, the present study investigates the motives for using Facebook and their effect on the addiction to the site among Somali youths. The study employed a quantitative method by adopting an online survey to collect data. The data was collected for a period of one month by posting a questionnaire on Facebook walls. A total of 327 respondents participated in the study. The results suggest that there is a significant relationship between FB motives and FB addiction. Furthermore, the results of the multiple regression analysis suggest that motives related to political (ß=.142, p=.016), social interaction (ß=.203, p=.002), and entertainment (ß=.329, p=.000) significantly contributed to FB addiction among the youths. Among the motives, entertainment and social interaction were the best predictors of FB addiction. Implications, future research scope, and contributions of the study are also discussed.

Keywords: Facebook addiction, Facebook motives, uses and gratification theory, Somali youth

Pages: 47-68 | First Published: 1 September 2014

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SEARCH 6 (2) 2014


Space, Mobility and Communication
Norhafezah Yusof

Abstract:

This paper investigates the construction of city space and the ensuing communication problems. An ethnographic approach was employed in this study. Data was analysed using thematic analysis framework. The findings indicate that sterile space, mobile space and virtually-linked community led to the phenomenon of transcultural communication. Transcultural communication in this study involves hybridisation, which also leads to métissage—the mixture of different cultures in the spirit of finding a consensus in understanding each other. It can be seen as triggering both positive and negative consequences for the city’s development. The paper concludes with the argument that community building demands socialised space with an identity, in addition to the availability of modernised facilities.

Keywords: space, mobility, transcultural communication, culture

Pages: 69-87 | First Published: 1 September 2014

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