Document Type

Graduate Research

Publication Date

Spring 4-8-2015




As the technology developed in the 21st century, the notion of citizenship reached its summit by spreading over the internet in democratic countries. There were no borders preventing internet users’ opinions from being limited within a country after internet functioned as a global village. Thus, social movements and demonstrations were taking place worldwide, especially online. In this study, the researcher wanted to investigate the relationship between the online forum PTT (Taiwanese biggest electronic bulletin board system) and its influence on the users’ citizenship. Due to the fact that the boards from PTT summed up to more than 13,000 categories, the researcher especially chose Gossiping Board for its online forum, the researcher could contribute results to the field of Communication, Political Science, and Social Science.

Since the entire PTT is composed of tradition Chinese words, the researcher has translated the necessary data into English and assisted with visual aids (screenshots). The researcher also applied two analyzing techniques to interpret the data: Erich Fromm’s psychoanalytic perspective involving his conceptualization of Active versus Passive Stimulation and Elihu Katz’s Uses and Gratifications Theory. Studying 1 out of 10 posts, from 1102 posts in one day, the researcher eliminated the number down to 111 posts to be the core data for this study. After applying the aforementioned two techniques, the researcher divided the posts into categories with 34 categorized as active stimulation while the remaining 77 posts were categorized as passive stimulation.

The results implied that Taiwanese people pay more attention to national concerns than they do to international issues. While some international issues did draw their active attention (results included imported beef from North America and ISIS activities), Taiwanese citizens were more preoccupied with national politics. Despite the fact that posts initiating passive stimulation (i.e., gossip about celebrities) outnumbered post that initiated active-stimulation, when the data was analyzed qualitatively, it became apparent that PTT users are actively engaged in carefully considering the issues involved with the maintenance of civic duty. While it was evident that sensationalism plays a role in the gratification of media consumers in Taiwan, it also became clear that Taiwanese citizens are willing to transcend the passive stimulation of sensationalism and accept the responsibilities of active stimulation and its cognitive demands. These results suggest that PTT is highly instrumental in initiating the involvement of citizens actively engaged in the maintenance of democratic way of life.