Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Bryan Denham

Committee Member

Dr. Jan Holmevik

Committee Member

Dr. Erin Ash

Committee Member

Dr. Ufuk Ersoy


It is hard to deny social media and its omnipresence is affecting users. What’s more, the online mediated environment is becoming increasingly diverse, with more social media platforms being created and used each year. What is social media doing to us? How do different platforms affect views of users? To answer these questions, this study applied cultivation theory to the mediated environment, which included the social media platforms of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, and TikTok. With 413 respondents, the results of this study indicated that Facebook consumption is related to first order cultivation effects, and non-Facebook platforms contribute to a cultivation of uncivil attitudes and the mean world syndrome. Demographics also played a major role in cultivation levels, with certain groups being more susceptible to cultivation than others. Finally, this dissertation proposes possible explanations for these cultivation findings and argues for a new understanding of cultivation theory and its processes in the context of online mediated environments.

Included in

Social Media Commons



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