Media audience homophily: Partisan websites, audience identity and polarization processes

Shira Dvir-Gvirsman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study suggests that media consumers favor certain websites not only due to their content but also due to their audience. A new concept is introduced: “audience homophily,” which describes one’s preference for partisan media websites catering to a homogeneous, likeminded consumership. This attraction is explained in terms of the need for self-consistency, and I suggest that over time such behavior will polarize political identity through a spiral of reinforcement. Based on both a survey-experiment (N = 300) and a panel study combined with web-tracking technology that recorded online-exposure behavior (N = 397), it was found that individuals with more extreme ideology present higher levels of audience homophily and that, longitudinally, audience homophily is somewhat associated with ideological polarization, intolerance, and accessibility of political self-definition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1072-1091
Number of pages20
JournalNew Media and Society
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • Homophily
  • network analysis
  • partisan media
  • reinforcing-spiral model
  • selective exposure


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