Getting tagged, getting involved with news? A mixed-methods investigation of the effects and motives of news-related tagging activities on social network sites


Coming across news on social network sites (SNS) largely depends on news-related activities in one’s network. Although there are many different ways to stumble upon news, limited research has been conducted on how distinct news curation practices influence users’ intention to consume encountered content. In this mixed-methods investigation, using Facebook as an example, we first examine the results of an experiment (study 1, n = 524), showing that getting tagged in comments to news posts promotes news consumption the most. Based on this finding, we then focus on actively tagging users by investigating news tagging motives/practices with interactive qualitative interviews centered on participants’ Facebook activity logs (study 2, n = 13). Overall, the findings show how news tagging, albeit a strong catalyst for reading and interacting with news, mostly favors users already interested in news, thus challenging the optimistic assumption that SNS might foster incidental learning among less interested audiences.



Journal of Communication