News Media, Social Media, and Hyperlink Networks: An Examination of Integrated Media Effects
Jiawei Sophia Fu and Michelle Shumate
Research typically focuses on one medium. But in today’s digital media environment, people use and are influenced by their experience with multiple systems. Building on media ecology research, we introduce the notion of integrated media effects. We draw on resource dependence and homophily theories to analyze the mechanisms that connect media systems. To test the integrated media effects, we examine the relationships between news media visibility and social media visibility and hyperlinking patterns among 410 nongovernmental organization (NGO) websites in China. NGOs with greater news media visibility and more social media followers receive significantly more hyperlinks. Further, NGOs with a similar number of social media followers prefer to hyperlink to each other. The results suggest that both news media and social media systems are related to the configuration of hyperlink networks, providing support for the integrated media effects described. Implications for the study of hyperlink networks, online behaviors of organizations, and public relations are drawn from the results.
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