(2006) found that those who are more willing to self-censor their political opinions also tend to engage less in political activities as compared with those lower in WTSC.
Kwon, Moon, and Stefanone (2015) examined social network sites' political opinion expression and its relationship with social network characteristics and WTSC. Findings in this study suggest that WTSC negatively influences political posting on social media.
As one's WTSC influences his or her political expression in social media platforms and online political expression drives offline political engagement as well, we similarly expect there to be an effect of WTSC on offline political participation, dependent on one's level of online political engagement.
H6: WTSC will indirectly affect offline political participation through social media political expression.
With changes in WTSC that are due to perceptions of group commonality, individuals are also likely to use social media for political expression.
Similarly, we also hypothesize that the observed relationship between acculturation and offline political participation is mediated by WTSC:
Next, social media network ethnic heterogeneity and perceptions of socioeconomic group commonality were examined as predictors of one's WTSC. Results indicated that both were significant predictors.
WTSC was significantly negatively predicted by socioeconomic group commonality perceptions--those who believed they shared with other races and ethnicities their socioeconomic conditions were also less willing to censor themselves (b = -0.34; [-0.51, -0.19]).
The next hypothesis examined the indirect effect of WTSC on offline political participation through social media political expression.
Notably, both social network ethnic heterogeneity and perceptions of socioeconomic group commonality were indirectly related to social media political expression through WTSC. Those with more diverse networks (b = 0.07; [0.02, 0.13]) and those who believed they shared the same socioeconomic conditions and possibilities with Whites and African Americans (b = 0.19; [0.09, 0.32]) were more likely to engage in political expression online as a function of their willingness to share opinions.
Although network heterogeneity was not indirectly related to participation through WTSC (b = 0.02; [-0.14, 0.16]), perceptions of socioeconomic group commonality were (b = 0.30; [0.12, 0.61]).
Cultural learning and social identification processes influence political communication predispositions such as individuals' WTSC, ultimately leading to political expression on social media and more traditional forms of political participation.