Styles of Communication, Vol 6, No 1 (2014)

Political Parties and Interest Groups Members' Patterns of Social Network Site Usage in Kyrgyzstan

Elira Turdubaeva


Kyrgyzstan, with a high level of political participation and an avant-garde position regarding internet access in Central Asia, broadband and social media penetration in the population, is a critical case for studying social network sites (SNSs) in relation to political participation. This study analyzes the practices and attitudes of SNS users in Kyrgyzstan. Two types of users – members of political parties and members of interest organizations – are interviewed in focus groups about their practices and attitudes towards political content in the social network site Facebook. The findings indicate that, to some extent, the political engagement is indeed occurring within the Facebook environment, suggesting that the popular social networking sites (SNSs) are an avenue for young people to express and share their political views. Facebook allowed users to share their political beliefs, support specific candidates, and interact with others on political issues. Participants’ perceptions regarding the appropriateness of political activity on Facebook, as well as the specific types of political activities they engaged in and witnessed within the site, were also explored.


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