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Social media have become an integral part of online news use, affecting how individuals find, consume, and share news. By applying the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA), this study investigates the effects of motives, attitude, and intention on news-sharing behavior among German social media users (n = 333). Findings show that news-sharing attitude and subjective norms have a positive effect on news-sharing intention, which in turn has a positive effect on actual news-sharing behavior. Taken together, we see that a new media behavior in the early phases of its societal diffusion—like social media news sharing in Germany in 2015—can mainly be explained by a rational choice logic and is rooted in the motives of socializing and information seeking. This finding thus reflects the double nature of social media as a means for both information retrieval and social grooming.
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Communication Research Reports
ISSN: 0882-4096 (Print) 1746-4099 (Online) Journal homepage:
Why Users Share the News: A Theory of Reasoned
Action-Based Study on the Antecedents of News-
Sharing Behavior
Veronika Karnowski, Larissa Leonhard & Anna Sophie Kümpel
To cite this article: Veronika Karnowski, Larissa Leonhard & Anna Sophie Kümpel (2017): Why
Users Share the News: A Theory of Reasoned Action-Based Study on the Antecedents of News-
Sharing Behavior, Communication Research Reports, DOI: 10.1080/08824096.2017.1379984
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Why Users Share the News: A Theory of
Reasoned Action-Based Study on the
Antecedents of News-Sharing Behavior
Veronika Karnowski , Larissa Leonhard ,
& Anna Sophie Kümpel
Social media have become an integral part of online news use, affecting how individuals
find, consume, and share news. By applying the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA), this
study investigates the effects of motives, attitude, and intention on news-sharing
behavior among German social media users (n = 333). Findings show that news-sharing
attitude and subjective norms have a positive effect on news-sharing intention, which in
turn has a positive effect on actual news-sharing behavior. Taken together, we see that a
new media behavior in the early phases of its societal diffusionlike social media news
sharing in Germany in 2015can mainly be explained by a rational choice logic and is
rooted in the motives of socializing and information seeking. This finding thus reflects
the double nature of social media as a means for both information retrieval and social
Keywords: News Sharing; Social Networking Sites (SNSs); Theory of Reasoned Action
The ways in which people keep up with what is going on globally, nationally, and
locally have changed dramatically in the recent past. As many as 6 in 10 Americans
got news from social media in 2016 (Gottfried & Shearer, 2016). Accordingly, users
increasingly are also taking part in the news flow itself. By liking, sharing, tweeting, or
Veronika Karnowski (Dr. phil., University of Zurich, 2008) is a researcher, lecturer, and coordinator in the
Department of Communication Studies and Media Research at LMU Munich. Larissa Leonhard (MA, LMU
Munich, 2017) is a PhD student in the Institute of Communication and Media Research at University of Leipzig.
Anna Sophie Kümpel (MA, LMU Munich, 2013) is a PhD student in the Department of Communication Studies
and Media Research at LMU Munich. Correspondence: Veronika Karnowski, LMU Munich, Department of
Communication Studies and Media Research, Oettingenstrasse 67, Munich 80538, Germany. E-mail: veronika.
Communication Research Reports
Vol. 00, No. 00, 2017, pp. 110
ISSN 0882-4096 (print)/ISSN 1746-4099 (online) © 2017 Eastern Communication Association
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retweeting, social media have provided users with many tools to share news content
with their peers. Although it was always possible to share news with ones friends by,
for example, simply telling them about some piece of news, the magnitude of user-
driven news dissemination has changed dramatically. With more than half of U.S.
adult Facebook users having more than 200 friends on Facebook (Smith, 2014), the
ratio of effort (one click) to potential reach (possibly hundreds of friends) of news
sharing via social media is substantially higher compared to news sharing in the pre-
social media era.
We therefore want to dig deeper into the antecedents of this behavior by applying a
Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA)-based approach to uncover the antecedents of news-
sharing behavior. Since recent research has shown that news-sharing behavior also goes
along with behaviors facilitating participation in civic and political life (Choi & Lee, 2015;
Oeldorf-Hirsch & Sundar, 2015), we expand this TRA-based approach by also integrating
usersoverall political interest. As most of the existing research on news sharing has been
conducted in Asia (e.g., Lee & Ma, 2012) and the United States (e.g., Choi, 2016), a
European perspective is still missing. In this study, we focus on German social media users
who arecompared to Asian and U.S. social media usersstill quite reserved when it
comes to using social media for news dissemination (Newman, Fletcher, Levy, & Nielsen,
2016). Therefore, a study in the German context can help shed more light on the
significance and universality of previously recognized interrelations.
Antecedents of News-Sharing Behavior
In our attempt to uncover the role of behavioral intention, behavioral attitudes,
behavioral norms, subjective norms, and the role of political interest in affecting
new sharing behavior, we go beyond the scope of previous studies that focus only
on the motives or personal attributes of the sharer. Instead, we embed news-sharing
behavior in the broader theoretical framework of TRA.
TRA, developed by Fishbein and Ajzen (1975), assumes that people make rational
choices when they decide whether to engage in a specific behavior, and that behavior
is driven by behavioral intentions. According to TRA, the behavioral intention is
determined by the attitude toward the behavior and the subjective norms associated
with the behavior. The latter is defined as the perception of the individual of whether
her peers think the behavior should be performedthat is, the perceived social
pressure to (not) engage in a behavior. This form of social norm is also referred to
as an injunctive norm (Interis, 2011). However, this pressure can also be rather
indirect, in that a person perceives a need to act in a certain way because her peers
are engaging in the behavior. This second form of social norm is also called a
descriptive norm (Interis, 2011). In our study, we analyze the influence of this second
and lower-threshold formthat is, the influence of descriptive norms on news-
sharing behavior.
Existing research concentrating on news-sharing motives was mostly conducted in
the tradition of the Uses and Gratifications Approach (UGA). Because both are based
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on the expectancy-value concept (Fishbein, 1967), UGA and TRA are alike in that
they try to explain behavior in terms of behavioral intentions. Studies following these
approaches (see the following) show that sharing behavior is rooted in general media
use motivations as well as in basic social needs. First, it is triggered by the need to
draw peoples attention and thus to attain status among ones peers or other social
network site (SNS) users (status seeking, see Lee & Ma, 2012; Ma, Lee, & Goh, 2011).
This need is also reflected in similar motives, labeled one-upmanship (Kang, Lee, You,
& Lee, 2013) or getting recognition (Choi, 2016). Second, people share news to
socialize with others and achieve a sense of belonging (Choi, 2016; Lee & Ma, 2012;
Ma et al., 2011) as well as to satisfy their need for information acquisition (Ma et al.,
2011;information seeking: Lee & Ma, 2012;surveillance: Choi, 2016). Holton, Baek,
Coddington, and Yaschur (2014) found that linking on Twitter is not only motivated
by information seeking but also by information sharingthat is, by pointing other
users to sources of information deemed relevant. Surprisingly, all studies that examine
motives such as entertainment or escapism found them to be unrelated with news-
sharing intentions or actual news-sharing behavior (Choi, 2016; Lee & Ma, 2012;Ma
et al., 2011). Considering the empirically identified influences of information seeking,
socializing, and status seeking on news-sharing intention and/or behavior, we assume
that these motives, as a first step, will have a positive influence on peoples general
news-sharing attitude. Therefore, we propose the following first hypothesis:
H1: The news-sharing motives information seeking, socializing, and status seeking
will have a positive influence on news-sharing attitude.
Although previous research found the motive of entertainment (as it is understood
from traditional UGA research) to be unrelated to news-sharing intention or behavior
(Choi, 2016; Lee & Ma, 2012; Ma et al., 2011), such work has not been replicated in a
European context. In fact, active news-related communication behavior in (social)
online media such as news commenting has been linked to entertainment motives in
several German studies (see, for example, Springer, Engelmann, & Pfaffinger, 2015,p.
808; Springer, 2014, pp. 159162; Ziegele, 2016, p. 268), suggesting that this relation-
ship might also be observed in the context of news sharing. Considering these
contradictory results, we pose our first research question:
RQ1: What influence does the news-sharing motive of entertainment have on news-
sharing attitude?
According to TRA (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975), subjective norms, attitude, and
intention work together in predicting behavior. Following these assumptions, both
subjective norms and news-sharing attitudes assert a positive influence on news-
sharing intention that will positively influence sharing behavior. Hence, we assume:
H2: Subjective norms will have a positive influence on news-sharing intention.
H3: News-sharing attitude will have a positive influence on news-sharing intention.
H4: News-sharing intention will have a positive influence on news-sharing behavior.
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The TRA models the influence of motives and attitudes on intention and, subse-
quently, of intention on behavior. Because in 2015 news sharing was still a rather
uncommon behavior in Germany (Newman, Levy, & Nielsen, 2015), we concentrated
on this rational choice logic to explain behavior in this study. Nonetheless, especially
with news sharing becoming more common, this logic is challenged when the
behavior in question is subject to habits, emotions, or nonrational behaviorlike
various instances of media choice (Hartmann, 2009). To uncover at least some hints
of less-rational behaviors, we will therefore also look at the direct influence of news-
sharing motives on behavior, thus investigating which motives might not have an
impact on peoples general attitude toward news sharing or their intention to exert
this behavior but which directly influence their engaging in news sharing. For
example, status seeking might not consciously influence peoples intention to share
news on social media but nevertheless might exert a direct influence on news-sharing
behavior. Thus, we consider the following research question:
RQ2: Are there any direct effects of news-sharing motives on news-sharing behavior?
Research has repeatedly shown that political interest (PI) and news use correlate with
each other (e.g., Delli Carpini, 2004;Strömbäck,Djerf-Pierre,&Shehata,2013). Employing a
longitudinal analysis, Strömbäck et al. (2013) were able to show that the effect of PI on news
use has increased between 1986 and 2010, suggesting that the impact of PI on news use has
become stronger across time. If PI has a positive influence on news use, it is likely that it also
has an influence on news sharing as well. In fact, for the German context, we do know that
PI is linked to various social media activities such as commenting, blogging, and tweeting
(Vonbun & Schönbach, 2014). In addition, in a recent study, Choi and Lee (2015)foundthat
PI positively regulates the association between news sharing and network heterogeneity:
SNS use leads to a more heterogeneous network of contacts when people with moderate or
high PI engage in news-sharing activities. The authors assume that this is the case because
news sharing is a socially engaging activity (Choi & Lee, 2015)abletoproducemeaningful
individual, interpersonal, and political consequences. The results suggest a positive link
between political interest and news-sharing behavior. Hence, we propose the following
H5: Political interest will have a positive influence on news-sharing behavior.
Design and Sample
Data for the present study were collected through a German language online survey
among social media users who subscribed to the Twitter or Facebook pages of the
popular German news outlet Süddeutsche Zeitung. The link to the survey was pro-
vided by Süddeutsche Zeitungs social media manager via a tweet and a Facebook post,
which obligated us to strictly limit survey length to not overstrain or bore Süddeutsche
Zeitungs social media users. The survey was conducted in March 2015 and adminis-
tered via the online survey tool SoSci Survey (Leiner, 2014). After excluding 54
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participants because of incomplete answers or response sets, 333 questionnaires were
included in the final analysis. Demographic characteristics of the sample included age
(M= 31.47, SD = 11.60), gender (63.7% female) and educational level (62.2% with a
university degree, 28.2% with a higher education entrance qualification, and 9.6% with
lower educational qualifications).
News-sharing behavior, intention, attitude, and subjective norms
All constructs were measured using single items with 5-point Likert-type scales and based
on common TRA operationalizations. Although single-item measures are generally inferior
to multi-item measures, in this case single-item measures were preferred so as to reduce the
fatigue, frustration, and boredom associated with answering highly similar questions
repeatedly(Robins, Hendin, & Trzesniewski, 2001,p.152)critical for the administration
of this study.
Respondentsactual news-sharing behavior was assessed with the question
Thinking about the last week, how often have you shared the link to a news
article on social media?
with the scale ranging from 0 (never)to4(several times a
day). News-sharing intention was measured using the following question: Imagine
that next week you will encounter a news article that you like. Can you imagine
sharing the link to that article on social media?with a scale from 0 (not at all
probable)to4(very probable). News-sharing attitude was assessed by measuring the
response to the statement Sharing the link to a news article that I like is …”with
the response options ranging from 0 (notgoodatall)to4(very good). Last, the
subjective norms regarding news-sharing behavior were measured with the follow-
ing statement: Among my social media friends, it is common to share links to
news articleswith the response scale ranging from 0 (strongly disagree)to
4(strongly agree). This operationalization reflects the descriptive norms as dis-
cussed previously.
News-sharing motives
We measured the motives information seeking (r= .88, M= 1.83, SD = 1.06),
socializing (r= .74, M= 2.87, SD = 1.18), status seeking (r= .62, M= 1.60,
SD = .81), and entertainment (r= .86, M= 1.48, SD = .83) based on the wordings
used in prior studies on news-sharing behavior in the Asian context (Kang et al., 2013;
Lee & Ma, 2012; Ma et al., 2011). We used two items for each motive (see previous
correlations) and measured the level of agreement on a 5-point Likert-type scale,
ranging from 0 (strongly disagree)to4(strongly agree).
Political interest
Respondentsinterest in politics was assessed using four items with 5-point Likert-
type scales, ranging from 0 (strongly disagree)to4(strongly agree). Statements were
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taken from the short scale political interest (SSPI, Otto & Bacherle, 2011; Cronbachs
α= .90, M= 3.93, SD = .82).
Table 1 shows the influence of news-sharing motives and political interest on news-
sharing attitude, as well as the influence of subjective norms and news-sharing attitude
on news-sharing intention. Both models have acceptable Fvalues and a satisfactory
explanatory power with an adjusted R
of 0.33 (news-sharing attitude) and 0.54
(news-sharing intention).
H1 proposed that the news-sharing motives of information seeking, socializing, and
status seeking would have a positive influence on news-sharing attitude. The data lend
support to the influence of information seeking (β= .21, p< .001) and socializing
(β= .48, p< .001) on news-sharing attitude, whereas status seeking (β= .04, p= .47)
showed no significant association. Thus, H1 was partly supported. RQ1 asked which
influence the motive of entertainment would exert on news-sharing attitude. The data
show that entertainment had no influence on news-sharing attitude (β=.09, p= .06).
H2 looked at the influence of subjective norms on news-sharing intention. In line
with our expectations, we found a modest positive influence of subjective norms on
news-sharing intention (β= .12, p= .01), thus supporting H2. In the next step, we
looked at the influence of news-sharing attitude on news-sharing intention. As
hypothesized, attitude had a substantial and statistically significant effect on news-
sharing intention (β= .68, p< .001), which supports H3.
Table 1 Multiple OLS Regression Analyses Predicting (1) News-Sharing
Attitude From Motives and Political Interest and (2) News-Sharing Inten-
tion From Subjective Norms and Attitude
(1) News Sharing
(2) News Sharing
Motives and political interest
Information seeking .21***
Socializing .48***
Entertainment .09
Status seeking .04
Political interest .02
Subjective norms and attitude
Subjective norms .12**
News sharing attitude .68***
(adj.) .33 .54
F34.30*** 192.89***
Note. n = 333; Coefficients are standardized Beta values.
*p< .05; **p< .01; ***p< .001.
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Finally, we ran a hierarchical regression stepwise that included the influence of
motives and political interest (Model 1), subjective norms and attitude (Model 2), and
news-sharing intention (Model 3) on news-sharing behavior (see Table 2). All models
have acceptable Fvalues and a satisfactory and increasing explanatory power with an
adjusted R
of 0.25 (Model 1), 0.33 (Model 2), and 0.39 (Model 3). In accordance with
the results identified for H1 to H3, the influence of motives, and in the second step
attitude on news-sharing behavior, decreases from Models 1 to 3 as the influence
becomes subsumed under the positive association of news-sharing intention with
actual news-sharing behavior (β= .43, p< .001). Thus, H4 was also confirmed.
RQ2 was formulated to uncover possible direct effects of news-sharing motives on
news-sharing behavior, but the data show no direct influence of motives on news-
sharing behavior (see Table 2). H5 addressed the influence of political interest (PI) on
news-sharing behavior. PI had a modest but significant positive influence on actual
news-sharing behavior (β= .14, p= .001). Therefore, H5 was confirmed as well.
The present study explored the factors that influence news-sharing behavior on social
media such as Facebook or Twitter. News-sharing attitude and subjective norms had a
positive effect on news-sharing intention, which in turn had a positive effect on actual
news-sharing behavior. Considering the different news-sharing motives, we only found
information seeking and socializing to be positively associated with attitude, similar to
Table 2 Hierarchical OLS Regression Analysis Predicting News-Sharing Behavior
News-Sharing Behavior
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3
Predictors ΔR
Motives and political interest .26***
Information seeking .19*** .11* .06
Socializing .30*** .12* .01
Entertainment .01 .02 .01
Status seeking .10 .08 .08
Political interest .17** .16** .14**
Subjective norms and attitude .08***
Subjective norms .08 .07
News sharing attitude .32*** .11
Intention .07***
News sharing intention .43***
Total R
(adj.) .25*** .33*** .39***
Note. n = 333.
*p< .05; **p< .01; ***p< .001.
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what was found in other studies (Choi, 2016;Lee&Ma,2012). Hence, these motives
seem to be influential in a way that is largely independent of cultural context or wider
media ecology. In fact, we might argue that information seeking and socializing seem to
be rather universal media use motivations, as they have beenand still areidentified as
relevant factors in predicting such diverse behaviors as television viewing (e.g., Rubin,
1981) or using Facebook groups (e.g., Park, Kee, & Valenzuela, 2009).
The influence of information seeking on news sharing suggests that news stories
might be shared both to seek out further information and to retrieve already encoun-
tered information. The latter is especially interesting, suggesting that sharing an article
serves as a kind of social bookmark in ones personal social media time line. The
influence of socializing, on the other hand, indicates that people not only share news
to disseminate and acquire information but also to interact with other people, possibly
with much less emphasis on the content actually shared. As with previous work, we
found no influence of entertainment on news sharing, thus contradicting the results in
the context of news commenting among German Internet users (e.g., Springer et al.,
2015). Hence, although both behaviors can be considered as an active form of news
use, they do not seem to be fueled by the same motivations. The lack of influence,
however, might also be attributed to the limitations of our sample (see the following).
Interestingly, we also found no influence of status seeking, which again might be
partly explained by the characteristics of our sample.
Political interest was found to be positively related to news-sharing behavior,
suggesting that people with higher levels of political interest are more likely to share
news in social media. Research has repeatedly shown the strong connection between
(passive) news media use and political interest (see, for example, Boulianne, 2015;
Holt, Shehata, Strömbäck, & Ljungberg, 2013), a relationship we can also confirm for
the active media behavior of news sharing.
Study Limitations
The findings, however, should be interpreted with caution due to inherent limitations.
First, our analysis is based on a convenience sample of German-speaking social media
users subscribed to one specific news outlet, and these individuals were both (a) highly
interested in social media and online news and (b) skewed toward a high level of
political interest, which might have led to diminished entertainment motives. Second,
we did not consider the sharing of different news types, such as political news
compared to human interest stories, in which motivations might impact sharing
differently. Third, we did not look at the role of habits or automated behaviors that
may affect news sharing independent of attitudes, intentions, and subjective norms.
As a whole, our data suggest that a new media behavior in the early phases of its
societal diffusion such as social media news sharing in Germany in 2015 can be
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explained by a rational choice logic that is mainly based on the motives of socializing
and information seeking. This finding thus reflects the dual nature of social media as a
means for both information retrieval and social grooming.
[1] All questionnaires were administered in German. All items discussed in the Method section
represent English translations of the original items.
Veronika Karnowski
Larissa Leonhard
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... The finding from these reports coupled with the fact that Facebook has more than 256 million active monthly users (Statista 2019), is an indication that these social platforms may be on a trajectory of becoming a dominant media platform for news consumption. It has already been concluded that news-sharing may be among the most important activities people do online as evident from the fact that news-sharing has become the most important development of this decade in the world of citizen-driven digital journalism (Karnowski, Leonhard, and Kümpel 2018;Olmstead, Mitchell, and Rosenstiel 2011). ...
... Furthermore, users who actively read news contents and follow news organisations on social media tend to have a positive attitude towards news-sharing and demonstrate an increased likelihood of actually sharing the news as well (e.g. Karnowski, Leonhard, and Kümpel 2018;Weeks and Holbert 2013;Yang et al. 2014). Another line of research along the same stream indicates that situational factors (e.g. ...
... Another stream of research has attributed social media as the platform for news consumption and information aggregation in light of the potential that these platforms have with respect to their capabilities of enhancing socio-political participation and civic engagement (Bachmann and Zúñiga 2013;Zúñiga et al. 2012;Karnowski, Leonhard, and Kümpel 2018;Nielsen and Schrøder 2014;Pandey 2017;Weeks, Ardèvol-Abreu, and Zúñiga 2017). These studies have defined news-sharing as a participatory action driven by people's political interests. ...
Rising prominence of social media coupled with a myriad of recent developments in the built-in features has allowed users to instantly share news both within and across their social networks, making news-sharing a savvy trend. Additionally, these platforms have enabled users to share news critical to social and civic responsibilities, as well as political news critical to healthy socio-political function. Given the prominence of citizen-driven digital journalism, even ordinary users and passive receivers of information have a powerful voice in modern society, making news-sharing on social media a significant phenomenon spanning across social, economic, and political boundaries. News-sharing behavior on social media demands further empirical investigation, especially with respect to the roles of online civic engagement and social influences. Drawing upon Elaboration Likelihood Model and Social Influence Theory, this study proposes a research model to explore individuals’ news-sharing behavior and validates the proposed research model using empirical data collected by a survey of 513 active social media users. Findings confirm that online news quality, news source credibility, perception of online civic engagement, perceived influence on others, and social influence play a crucial role in users’ news-sharing behaviors. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed in light of these findings.
... 29 TRA is appropriate for studying technology usage, such as SNS continuance, in that it focuses on both the individual's attitudinal motivation and external environmental forces. TRA has been shown to be effective in information systems (IS) research in studies ranging from cyberbullying 30,31 to SNS usage 32,33 and e-commerce. 34,35 TRA maintains that an individual's behavioral intention is influenced by a combination of personal or attitudinal and social or normative factors. ...
Social network services (SNSs) have attracted more than 4.3 billion users worldwide. However, many feel SNSs have had an overall negative impact on society. This study utilizes the theory of reasoned action and rational choice theory to explore factors impacting SNS continuance. In addition, the study explores the moderating effect of commitment (i.e., whether an individual is considering leaving their SNS), on factors impacting continuance intention. Using 492 responses collected using MTurk, findings indicate that perceived benefits (i.e., enjoyment and learning) and the costs of non-usage (i.e., fear of missing out (FoMO)) positively impact an individual’s attitude toward SNS continuance while the cost of usage (i.e., privacy concerns) has a negative effect. Also, commitment was found to significantly affect the impact of FoMO on attitudes toward continuance. This study makes several significant contributions both to theory and practice related to individuals evolving perspectives on SNS usage.
... Although many communication studies have explored why people share content online (e.g., Y. Chen et al., 2018;Karnowski et al., 2018), scant research is available on whether people will share a particular type of message on social media sites. In other words, the nature of the message itself has been less addressed when predicting behavioral intention regarding online news sharing. ...
... The theory of rational behavior points out that behavioral intention drives rational behavior and is influenced by attitudes related to behavior (Douglass, 1977;Karnowski et al., 2018). Also, attitudes depend on individual beliefs about object attributes or behavioral outcomes (Montano and Kasprzyk, 2015)-for example, people who believe that a behavior will produce a positive value will hold a positive attitude toward the behavior (Bang et al., 2000). ...
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As a symbol of Chinese culture, the Palace Museum undertakes the mission of spreading Chinese culture. In recent years, through the innovative integration of traditional culture, the Palace Museum has provided a series of cultural and creative products to meet consumers’ personalized expectations, which has attracted wide attention from both academia and practice. Cultural and creative products, as one of the means of cultural dissemination by museums, affect the revenue and sustainable development of museums. Thus, it is of great significance to study how consumers arrive at the decision to purchase these products. This article explores the influence mechanism of design aesthetics on consumers’ purchase intention (N = 201). The results show that design aesthetics has a positive influence on consumers’ purchase intention through perceived value and that Chinese traditionality moderates the indirect influence of perceived value. The contributions and implications are discussed.
... Considering private users, studies find user motivations and user network characteristics to influence sharing behaviors. Importantly, content and context features of shared news items also affect the dissemination process (for an overview, see Kümpel et al. 2015;Karnowski et al. 2018). Adapting the concept of newsworthiness to news sharing determinants, Trilling et al. (2017) suggest that traditional news values are still a guiding principle. ...
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Political actors play an increasingly important role in the dissemination of political information on social media. However, relatively little is known about the mechanisms why specific news items are shared with the support base instead of others. For a timespan between December 2017 and the end of 2018, we combine the analysis of Facebook content from 1,022 politicians associated with 20 political parties from Germany, Spain, and the UK, with an automated content analysis of media coverage from 22 major online news outlets, and survey data in a multilevel binomial regression approach. By comparing news items that have been shared by one or several political parties with news items that have not been shared by any of them, we overcome the selection biases of previous studies in the field of news dissemination. Findings show that a news item's likelihood to be shared by a politician increases (1) if that politician's party is mentioned in the news item, (2) the more salient their party's owned issues are in the news item, and (3) the more party supporters tend to read the news outlet in which the news item is published. We contextualize these findings in light of political actors’ multi-faceted motivations for news sharing on social media and discuss how this process potentially reinforces an information bias that may contribute to the polarization and fragmentation of audiences.
... Social media is a critical source of information since it enables users to get data fast and easily [23,51]. Due to the way information is displayed on social media in 'thin slices' [13], consumers have difficulty determining its authenticity and reliability [76]. Usually, headlines are designed with the express purpose of capturing people's attention and are more important than the source of the information [77]. ...
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Social media has triggered an increase in fake news spread about different aspects of modern lives, society, politics, societal changes, etc., and has also affected companies' reputation and brands' trust. Therefore, this paper is aimed at investigating why social media users share fake news about environmentally friendly brands. To examine social media users' behavior towards environmentally friendly brands, a theoretical research model proposed and analyzed using structural equations modeling in SmartPLS on a convenience sample consisting of 922 questionnaires. Data was collected by means of a quantitative-based approach via a survey conducted among social media users from an emerging market. The results show that social media flow has a mediated impact on sharing fake news about environmentally friendly brands on social media. Considering the critical consequences of fake news, the paper argues that understanding the dissemination process of this type of bogus content on social media platforms has important theoretical and managerial implications. Understanding the psychological mechanisms that influence people's behavior in sharing fake news about environmentally friendly brands on social networking sites (SNS) could help in better understanding the factors and the effects of this phenomenon. The originality of this research consists of proposing flow theory from positive psychology to be used as a theoretical framework to explain users' behavior of sharing fake news about environmentally friendly brands on social media.
Are journalists and Facebook users equally interested in political news? Introducing the conceptualization and measurement of the “news sharing gap”, this study compares the sharing of political news by Facebook users to the production of political news by news media organizations. To paint a broad picture of these differences, we compare the news sharing gap (a) across election and routine periods and (b) across eight countries: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Analyzing 265,714 articles shared over 12 million times on Facebook, findings show that elections are broadly linked to increases in political news publication, but even larger increases in political news sharing. The study reveals how, overall, political news is shared more often than news publication patterns would suggest, proposing higher political interest by Facebook users than previously thought. In most cases, political news sharing far outpaces political news production in the form of a “negative” news sharing gap, with the relative demand for political news (in the form of news sharing) being higher than the supply. Lastly, building upon previous work, we propose and validate a distant supervised machine learning method for multilingual, large-scale identification of political news across distinct languages, contexts and time periods.
Negativity in the news sells, but is such news also perceived as more credible and shareworthy? Given that negative information is more impactful and processed more easily, a positive-negative asymmetry might also exist in news processing. This negativity bias is explored in a two-part experiment ( N = 696) where respondents rated (a) multiple positive and negative news items and (b) conflicting news on perceived credibility and shareworthiness. Results reveal no straightforward patterns: Audiences only hold a negativity bias in their credibility assessment under certain conditions, and even less so when it comes to sharing news. When confronted with conflicting information, audiences do not seem to use negativity as a cue to determine which news to believe or share.
Der Beitrag stellt die Frage, inwieweit die erhöhte Relevanzzuschreibung von Ernährung innerhalb der Corona-Krise auf Twitter kommunikativ sichtbar wird. Grundlage der Analyse ist ein Datensatz, der im 14 Tage Rhythmus des zweiten Halbjahrs 2020 generiert wurde. Mittels einer Netzwerkanalyse sollen gewichtige Stimmen und deren Beziehungen innerhalb des Diskurses identifiziert werden. An 14 Stichtagen wurde ein Gesamtdatensatz von 774 Tweets erhoben. Vier übergeordnete Themen (u. a. Impfstoff, Fleischkonsum) und zwei Randthemen (Kochen, Bewegung) wurden identifiziert. Private Accounts ergeben die größte Gruppe, was in Anbetracht der geringen Nutzung der deutschen Gesamtbevölkerung bemerkenswert ist. Ein Erklärungsansatz wäre, dass die Thematik Ernährung jede*n angeht. Ein großer Anteil der privaten Akteur*innen des Datensatzes besteht aus Corona-Leugner*innen. Der Diskurs enthält zwar relevante politische und wissenschaftliche Akteur*innen, diese kommunizieren jedoch nur Randthemen.
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Sosyal paylaşım siteleri; kullanıcıların içerik paylaşabildikleri ve diğer kullanıcılarla iletişim ve etkileşim kurabildikleri alanlardır. Türkiye’de en çok kullanılan sosyal paylaşım siteleri sırasıyla Youtube, Instagram, Whatsapp, Facebook ve Twitter’dir. Bireyler sosyal paylaşım sitelerinde geçirdikleri süre boyunca durum güncellemesi, fotoğraf, video, yorum, deneyim veya reklam paylaşımı vb. gibi farklı türlerde bilgi paylaşımında bulunmaktadırlar. Bu bilgi akışı sonucunda sosyal paylaşım siteleri kullanıcıları hakkında pek çok veri elde etmekte ve söz konusu verilerle ticari kar sağlayabilmektedir. Bu çalışmanın amacı kullanıcıları sosyal paylaşım sitelerinde bilgi paylaşma niyetine yönelten unsurların ortaya çıkarılması ve bu davranışının kadın ve erkekler üzerinde nasıl farklılaştığını belirlemektir. Bu amaca yönelik olarak bu çalışmada doğrulayıcı faktör analizi (DFA), yapısal eşitlik modeli (YEM) analizi, ölçüm denklik testi ve çoklu grup analizi (ÇGA) gerçekleştirilmiştir. Analizler sonucunda; mahremiyet riskinin bilgi paylaşma tutumunu negatif ve bağlılığın pozitif etkilediği ve bilgi paylaşma tutumu ve öznel normların bilgi paylaşma niyetini pozitif etkilediği bulunmuştur. Sosyal bağların bilgi paylaşma tutumu üzerindeki etkisi ise anlamlı bulunmamıştır. Son olarak, yalnızca tutumun sosyal paylaşım sitelerinde bilgi paylaşma niyeti üzerindeki etkisinin cinsiyete göre farklılaştığı ve bu etkinin kadınlarda erkeklerden daha fazla olduğu bulunmuştur. Social networking sites; are areas where users can share content and communicate and interact with other users. The most used social networking sites in Turkey are Youtube, Instagram, Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter, respectively. Individuals can share status updates, photos, videos, comments, experiences or advertisements during their time on social networking sites. They share different types of information, as a result of this flow of information, social networking sites obtain a lot of data about their users and can generate commercial profit with the data. The aim of this study is to reveal the factors that lead users to share information on social networking sites and to determine how this behavior differs on men and women. For this purpose, confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), structural equation model (SEM) analysis, measurement equivalence test and multiple group analysis (MGA) were performed in this study. As a result of the analysis; It was found that the risk of privacy affects the information sharing attitude negatively and the commitment effects the information sharing attitude positively and the information sharing attitude and subjective norms both affect the information sharing intention positively. The effect of social ties on knowledge sharing attitude was not found significant. Finally, it was found that only the effect of attitude on the intention to share information on social networking sites differs according to gender, and this effect is higher in women than in men.
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This year's report reveals new insights about digital news consumption based on a YouGov survey of over 20,000 online news consumers in the US, UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Brazil, Japan and Australia. This year's data shows a quickening of the pace towards social media platforms as routes to audiences, together with a surge in the use of mobile for news, a decline in the desktop internet and significant growth in video news consumption online.
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With the rapid development of interactive communication technology, the Internet is a major source of news and also plays an important role in connecting individual members of society. However, Internet users may have different perspectives on whether the Internet positively functions as a medium for public deliberation. Based on the assumption that being exposed to information on public affairs is a crucial step for one's civic engagement, this study explores how individuals’ motives related to news consumption, elaborative online news reading, and online news sharing influence their perceptions of online deliberation using structural equation modeling method (N = 998). The study finds significant relationships between news consumption motives and elaborative news reading and sharing behaviors, but only elaborative reading behavior had a significant effect on one's perceptions of online deliberation. The implications of these findings are discussed.
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This longitudinal study investigates whether the impact of political interest—a key motivational factor behind news consumption—on various forms of news consumption has increased over time. The analysis is based on a unique large-scale representative annual survey conducted in Sweden over the years 1986–2010, enabling a comprehensive analysis of citizens’ total and specific news consumption across multiple channels and platforms. Results show that news consumption has become more polarized between news-seekers and news-avoiders over time, and that political interest has become a more important determinant of news consumption in today’s high-choice media environment.
Marc Ziegele untersucht, was Nachrichten im Internet nicht nur lesenswert, sondern auch diskussionswert macht. Hierfür entwickelt der Autor auf Grundlage der Nachrichtenwerttheorie ein theoretisches Modell über die Motive von Internetnutzern, Nachrichten zu kommentieren und zeigt auf, warum sich bestimmte Kommentarinhalte bei bestimmten Meldungen häufen. Dieses Modell wird in drei qualitativen Untersuchungen empirisch fundiert und erweitert. Eine zentrale Erkenntnis der Arbeit ist, dass Nachrichtenfaktoren in journalistischen Meldungen – unter anderem Kontroverse, Erfahrbarkeit – und Diskussionsfaktoren in Kommentaren – unter anderem Aggressivität, lebensweltliche Erfahrungen – das Kommentierbedürfnis von späteren Nutzern in einem dynamischen Zusammenspiel beeinflussen und für unterschiedliche Diskussionsqualitäten verantwortlich sind. Der Inhalt • Theoretisches Modell des Diskussionswerts • Nachrichtenwert und Diskussionswert• Qualitative Studien: Diskussionswerte Nachrichten- und Kommentareigenschaften • Der Einfluss von Diskussionsarchitekturen und individuellen Nutzermerkmalen Die Zielgruppen • Dozierende und Studierende der Sozialwissenschaften, insbesondere der Medien- und Kommunikationswissenschaft, Psychologie, Soziologie • Journalisten und Community-Manager Der Autor Marc Ziegele ist wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Institut für Publizistik der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
The present study sheds light on the nature of the multi-dimensional aspects of news consumption by focusing on three different news-related activities on online social networking services (SNSs): news reading, news posting, and news endorsing. Borrowing from the literature on uses and gratifications theory, as well as media attendance theory and the concept of a technology cluster, the study investigated why people consume news differently on SNSs. The results show that each type of news activity may derive from different kinds of motivations, media habits and technology clusters. For example, the motivation of “getting recognition” was found to be an important driving force for news posting, while it was not a significant predictor of news reading and news endorsing. On the other hand, the “entertainment” motivation was revealed to be positively associated with news reading and news endorsing, while it was not with news posting. In addition, those who have an internet-based news repertoire were more likely to participate in news activities on SNSs and those who have many mobile devices were found to participate in news reading more frequently. The study was conducted using a national online survey.
User comments allow ‘annotative reporting’ by embedding users’ viewpoints within an article's context, providing readers with additional information to form opinions, which can potentially enhance deliberative processes. But are these the only reasons why people comment on online news and read these comments? This study examines factors that motivate, or demotivate and constrict, such participation by surveying nearly 650 commenters, lurkers, and non-users in Germany. From a normative perspective, the results are ambivalent. The results show that commenters are driven by social-interactive motives to participate in journalism, and to discuss with other users. However, the data suggest that commenters do not obtain cognitive gratifications to the desired extent. Presumably, their exchange is socially and not deliberatively motivated. Reading comments is fuelled by both cognitive and entertainment motives, but regression analyses show that the entertainment dimension − a dimension that is not usually considered to be linked to deliberation processes − is the more stable one. A low standard of discussions not only increases the frequency at which comments are read, but also reduces lurkers’ satisfaction. Similarly, non-users are even more frustrated by the low quality of discussions. They consider such participation activities to be a waste of time, and are not willing to register.
Social networking sites such as Facebook provide new ways of sharing news stories that allow users to act as opinion leaders in their networks, encourage discussion, and potentially increase their involvement in current events. This study identifies the particular features of Facebook that facilitate the discussion of news and tests their effects on involvement and feelings of influence. Participants (N = 265) in a 3 (Broadcast level: news feed vs. wall post vs. direct message) × 3 (Elaboration: opinion vs. question vs. no comment) × 2 (Involving-friends: tag vs. no tag) between-subjects factorial experiment were randomly assigned to share a story from a news website on Facebook. Results show that user involvement in the news content depends on the social affordances of the site, particularly those that allow for audience customization and those that drive network feedback. Asking the network’s opinions and targeting specific friends led to greater involvement in the news content. Discussion through comments led to a greater sense of influence and greater involvement for those sharing the news story. These findings highlight the importance of encouraging individuals to act as sources of information in their networks to drive engagement in current events in the changing news landscape.
This research investigated whether the use of social networking services (SNSs) promotes or restricts the likelihood of citizens’ exposure to political disagreement by focusing on two different types of news sharing activities on SNSs – news externalizing and internalizing – and on individuals’ level of political interest. The results show that frequent SNS use may entail higher chances of interacting with heterogeneous others, but the influence is only indirectly exerted through its effects on two news sharing activities. Findings also indicate that political interest and news sharing activities interact with each other in predicting the degree of network heterogeneity. The study is conducted with a nationally representative survey.