The Impact of Opinion Majorities in Social Networks and the Role of Digital Maturity

Abstract

The emergence of social media platforms like Facebook and their success in connecting people changed not only the way people interact and socialize, but also allows for new forms of spreading opinion. The obstacles to share opinions and reaching many known and unknown others, decreased noticeably, bringing up an abundance of opinions on diverse topics. We investigated the interplay of the spiral of silence and the bandwagon effect in online contexts and performed a web survey with 163 participants, confronting them with opinion majorities in user comments on four diverse topics. Our results show, that both phenomena reoccur in online contexts. However, they were not traceable to our examined user factors. This indicates, that a large proportion of users could fall for online bandwagon effects and the spiral of silence.

Publication
In International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction