Politically Skilled Online Audience Management: Individual Differences Mediating Online Audience Effect
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AbstractSocial networking sites (SNSs) afford users numerous tools that are useful for selective self-presentation. However, online audiences are typically complex, and foster additional strategy when users present themselves online through shared content. The present study investigates how online audience factors including strength, individual differences, and online self-presentation behaviors relate. The first set of predictions in this study argues that audience strength predicts selective self-presentation behaviors (e.g., self-censorship, self-cleansing) on SNSs. The next set of predictions argues that political skill, which addresses specific social effectiveness abilities, mediates the relationship between audience strength and selective self-presentation. Hypotheses addressing self-cleansing behaviors on SNSs were supported, while those addressing self-censorship were not supported. Our findings demonstrate that SNS users present themselves strategically to complex online audiences, and individual differences affect these self-presentations.