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

publication date

  • May 2023


  • 3


  • 32

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1386-6710

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1699-2407


  • 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.


  • facebook; political com-munication; political discussion; political discussion regret; political persuasion; regret; social media; social networks; twitter; whatsapp