Political conversations and regret: A qualitative evaluation on the aftermath of political discussions on social media




Palabras clave:

Political discussion, Regret, Political discussion regret, Social media, Political persuasion, Social networks, Political communication, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook


The fundamental role of political discussions in democracy has been frequently highlighted by quantitative and qualitative literature at the intersection of political communication and media effects. Most research has revolved around whether, and if so under what conditions, social media platforms constitute public spaces where democracy can be nurtured and promoted. Building on this literature and underscoring the importance of individuals´ self-effects theories, this qualitative study, based on 42 in-depth interviews, clarifies how social media users navigate political discussions and their ulterior affective and cognitive processes, introducing the notion of political discussion regret. Specifically, this concept fundamentally emphasizes the sterility of partaking in political discussions as the main motivation for users´ cognitive lamentation, which indirectly cancels the presumed muscle of social media as the sphere of public and private political discussion and deliberations. Implications of the study´s findings and main theoretical consequences for the political discussion literature are also provided.


Los datos de descargas todavía no están disponibles.


Baker, James R.; Moore, Susan M. (2008). "Blogging as a social tool: A psychosocial examination of the effects of blogging". Cyberpsychology & behavior, v. 11, n. 6, pp. 747-749. https://doi.org/10.1089/cpb.2008.0053

Boczkowski, Pablo J.; Mitchelstein, Eugenia; Matassi, Mora (2018). ""˜News comes across when I´m in a moment of leisure´: Understanding the practices of incidental news consumption on social media". New media & society, v. 20, n. 10, pp. 3523-3539. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444817750396

Boulianne, Shelley; Koc-Michalska, Karolina; Bimber, Bruce (2020). "Right-wing populism, social media and echo chambers in Western democracies". New media & society, v. 22, n. 4, pp. 683-699. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444819893983

Braun, Virginia; Clarke, Victoria (2006). "Using thematic analysis in psychology". Qualitative research in psychology, v. 3, n. 2, pp. 77-101. https://doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa

Brundidge, Jennifer (2010). "Encountering "˜difference´ in the contemporary public sphere: The contribution of the internet to the heterogeneity of political discussion networks". Journal of communication, v. 60, n. 4, pp. 680-700. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.2010.01509.x

Chambers, Simone (2003). "Deliberative democratic theory". Annual review of political science, v. 6, n. 1, pp. 307-326. https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev.polisci.6.121901.085538

Connolly, Terry; Zeelenberg, Marcel (2002). "Regret in decision making". Current directions in psychological science, v. 11, n. 6, pp. 212-216. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8721.00203

Conover, Pamela-Johnston; Searing, Donald D.; Crewe, Ivor M. (2002). "The deliberative potential of political discussion". British journal of political science, v. 32, n. 1, pp. 21-62. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007123402000029

Couldry, Nick (2004). "Theorising media as practice". Social semiotics, v. 14, n. 2, pp. 115-132. https://doi.org/10.1080/1035033042000238295

Eveland, William P. (2001). "The cognitive mediation model of learning from the news: Evidence from nonelection, off-year election, and presidential election contexts". Communication research, v. 28, n. 5, pp. 571-601. https://doi.org/10.1177/009365001028005001

Eveland, William P. (2004). "The effect of political discussion in producing informed citizens: The roles of information, motivation, and elaboration". Political communication, v. 21, n. 2, pp. 177-193. https://doi.org/10.1080/10584600490443877

Gil de Zúñiga, Homero; Ardèvol-Abreu, Alberto; Casero-Ripollés, Andreu (2021). "WhatsApp political discussion, conventional participation and activism: exploring direct, indirect and generational effects". Information, communication & society, v. 24, n. 2, pp. 201-218. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2019.1642933

Gil de Zúñiga, Homero; Molyneux, Logan; Zheng, Pei (2014). "Social media, political expression, and political participation: panel analysis of lagged and concurrent relationships". Journal of communication, v. 64, n. 4, pp. 612-634. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcom.12103

Gil de Zúñiga, Homero; Valenzuela, Sebastián; Weeks, Brian E. (2016). "Motivations for political discussion: Antecedents and consequences on civic engagement". Human communication research, v. 42, n. 4, pp. 533-552. https://doi.org/10.1111/hcre.12086

Goyanes, Manuel; Borah, Porismita; Gil de Zúñiga, Homero (2021). "Social media filtering and democracy: Effects of social media news use and uncivil political discussions on social media unfriending". Computers in human behavior, v. 120, e106759. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2021.106759

Goyanes, Manuel; Demeter, Marton (2022). "Beyond positive or negative: Understanding the phenomenology, typologies and impact of incidental news exposure on citizens daily lives". New media & society, v. 24, n. 3, pp. 760-777. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444820967679

Guallar, Javier; Suau, Jaume; Ruiz-Caballero, Carlos; Sáez, Albert; Masip, Pere (2016). "Re-dissemination of news and public debate on social networks". El profesional de la información, v. 25, n. 3, pp. 358-366. https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2016.may.05

Halpern, Daniel; Gibbs, Jennifer (2013). "Social media as a catalyst for online deliberation? Exploring the affordances of Facebook and YouTube for political expression". Computers in human behavior, v. 29, n. 3, pp. 1159-1168. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2012.10.008

Halpern, Daniel; Valenzuela, Sebastián; Katz, James E. (2017). "We face, I tweet: How different social media influence political participation through collective and internal efficacy". Journal of computer-mediated communication, v. 22, n. 6, pp. 320-336. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcc4.12198

Hampton, Keith N.; Shin, Inyoung; Lu, Weixu (2017). "Social media and political discussion: when online presence silences offline conversation". Information, communication & society, v. 20, n. 7, pp. 1090-1107. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2016.1218526

Hwang, Hyunseo; Kim, Youngju; Kim, Yeojin (2018). "Influence of discussion incivility on deliberation: An examination of the mediating role of moral indignation". Communication research, v. 45, n. 2, pp. 213-240. https://doi.org/10.1177/0093650215616861

Inman, Jeffrey J.; Dyer, James S.; Jia, Jianmin (1997). "A generalized utility model of disappointment and regret effects on post-choice valuation". Marketing science, v. 16, n. 2, pp. 97-111. https://doi.org/10.1287/mksc.16.2.97

Jordá, Beatriz; Goyanes, Manuel (2022). "The rear window effect: How users respond to political discussions and persuasive discourses in social media". International journal of communication, v. 16, pp. 4361-4379. https://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/19027

Kim, Yonghwan; Chen, Hsuan-Ting (2015). "Discussion network heterogeneity matters: Examining a moderated mediation model of social media use and civic engagement". International journal of communication, v. 9, pp. 2344-2365. https://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/3254

Landman, Janet (1987). "Regret: a theoretical and conceptual analysis". Journal for the theory of social behaviour, v. 17, n. 2, pp. 135-160. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5914.1987.tb00092.x

Lecci, Len; Okun, Morris A.; Karoly, Paul (1994). "Life regrets and current goals as predictors of psychological adjustment". Journal of personality and social psychology, v. 66, n. 4, pp. 731-741. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.66.4.731

Lee, Sangwon; Diehl, Trevor; Valenzuela, Sebastián (2022). "Rethinking the virtuous circle hypothesis on social media: Subjective versus objective knowledge and political participation". Human communication research, v. 48, n. 1, pp. 57-87. https://doi.org/10.1093/hcr/hqab014

Martí­nez, Luis M. F.; Zeelenberg, Marcel; Rijsman, John B. (2011). "Behavioural consequences of regret and disappointment in social bargaining games". Cognition and emotion, v. 25, n. 2, pp. 351-359. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2010.485889

Masip, Pere; Ruiz-Caballero, Carlos; Suau, Jaume (2019). "Active audiences and social discussion on the digital public sphere. Review article". El profesional de la información, v. 28, n. 2. https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2019.mar.04

Miller, Luis (2020). Polarización en España: más divididos por ideologí­a e identidad que por polí­ticas públicas. EsadeEcPol - Center for Economic Policy and Political Economy. https://dobetter.esade.edu/es/polarizacion-espana

Ng, Elaine W. J.; Detenber, Benjamin H. (2005). "The impact of synchronicity and civility in online political discussions on perceptions and intentions to participate". Journal of computer-mediated communication, v. 10, n. 3. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2005.tb00252.x

O´Connor, Eimear; McCormack, Teresa; Feeney, Aidan (2014). "Do children who experience regret make better decisions? A developmental study of the behavioral consequences of regret". Child development, v. 85, n. 5, pp. 1995-2010. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.12253

Park, Chang-Sup (2017). "Do social media facilitate political learning? Social media use for news, reasoning and political knowledge". The journal of social media in society, v. 6, n. 2, pp. 206-238. https://thejsms.org/index.php/JSMS/article/view/292

Patton, Michael-Quinn (2002). "Two decades of developments in qualitative inquiry: A personal, experiential perspective". Qualitative social work, v. 1, n. 3, pp. 261-283. https://doi.org/10.1177/1473325002001003636

Pingree, Raymond J. (2007). "How messages affect their senders: A more general model of message effects and implications for deliberation". Communication theory, v. 17, n. 4, pp. 439-461. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2885.2007.00306.x

Pont-Sorribes, Carles; Besalú, Reinald; Codina, Lluí­s (2020). "WhatsApp como canal de información polí­tica en España: credibilidad, perfil de usuarios y compartición de contenidos". Profesional de la información, v. 29, n. 6. https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2020.nov.19

Rojas, Hernando (2015). "Egocentric publics and perceptions of the world around us". In: Gil de Zúñiga, Homero (ed.). New agendas in communication: New technologies & civic engagement. New York, NY: Routledge, pp. 93-102. ISBN: 978 1 315750927 https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315750927

Schmitt-Beck, Rudiger (2008). "Interpersonal communication". In: Kaid, Lynda-Lee; Holtz-Bacha, Christina (eds.). Encyclopedia of political communication, Los Angeles: Sage, pp. 341-350.

Shah, Dhavan V. (2016). "Conversation is the soul of democracy: Expression effects, communication mediation, and digital media". Communication and the public, v. 1, n. 1, pp. 12-18. https://doi.org/10.1177/2057047316628310

Statista (2023). "Share of news consumers who used Facebook for news in selected European countries from 2016 to 2022". Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/298038/platforms-used-to-share-online-news-uk

Statista (2023). "Number of social media users in Spain from 2019 to 2028". Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/569077/spain-number-social-media-users

Su, Yan; Xiao, Xizhu (2022). "Interacting effects of political social media use, political discussion and political trust on civic engagement: Extending the differential gains model". International communication gazette, v. 84, n. 3, pp. 206-226. https://doi.org/10.1177/1748048521993118

Taylor, Cameron E.; Mantzaris, Alexander V.; Garibay, Ivan (2018). "Exploring how homophily and accessibility can facilitate polarization in social networks". Information, v. 9, n. 12. https://doi.org/10.3390/info9120325

Treré, Emiliano (2020). "The banality of WhatsApp: On the everyday politics of backstage activism in Mexico and Spain". First Monday, v. 25, n. 1. https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v25i12.10404

Valenzuela, Sebastián; Kim, Yonghwan; Gil de Zúñiga, Homero (2012). "Social networks that matter: Exploring the role of political discussion for online political participation". International journal of public opinion research, v. 24, n. 2, pp. 163-184. https://doi.org/10.1093/ijpor/edr037

Valkenburg, Patti M. (2017). "Understanding self-effects in social media". Human communication research, v. 43, n. 4, pp. 477-490. https://doi.org/10.1111/hcre.12113

Wang, Junkai; Zheng, Bowen; Liu, Hefu; Yu, Lingling (2020). "A two-factor theoretical model of social media discontinuance: role of regret, inertia, and their antecedents". Information technology & people, v. 34, n. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITP-10-2018-0483

Wang, Xiaohui; Song, Yunya (2020). "Viral misinformation and echo chambers: the diffusion of rumors about genetically modified organisms on social media". Internet research, v. 30, n. 5, pp. 1547-1564. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-11-2019-0491

Zeelenberg, Marcel (1999). "Anticipated regret, expected feedback and behavioral decision making". Journal of behavioral decision making, v. 12, n. 2, pp. 93-106. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-0771(199906)12:2<93::AID-BDM311>3.0.CO;2-S

Zeelenberg, Marcel; Inman, J. Jeffrey; Pieters, Rik G. M. (2001). "What do we do when decisions go awry: Behavioral consequences of experienced regret". In: Weber, Elke U.; Baron, Jonathan; Loomes, Graham (eds.). Conflict and tradeoffs in decision making, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 136-155. ISBN 0 521 77238 9

Zhou, Yushu; Pinkleton, Bruce E. (2012). "Modeling the effects of political information source use and online expression on young adults´ political efficacy". Mass communication and society, v. 15, n. 6, pp. 813-830. https://doi.org/10.1080/15205436.2011.622064



Cómo citar

Goyanes, M., Borah, P., & Gil de Zúñiga, H. (2023). Political conversations and regret: A qualitative evaluation on the aftermath of political discussions on social media. Profesional De La información, 32(3). https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2023.may.02



Artí­culos de investigación / Research articles