The Impact of Social Media on Social Cohesion: A Double-Edged Sword

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Editorial | Open Access

The Impact of Social Media on Social Cohesion: A Double-Edged Sword

  • Stefan Stieglitz Department of Computer Science and Applied Cognitive Science, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
  • Björn Ross Institute for Language, Cognition and Computation, University of Edinburgh, UK

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Abstract:  Social media plays a major role in public communication in many countries. Therefore, it has a large impact on societies and their cohesion. This thematic issue explores the impact social media has on social cohesion on a local or national level. The nine articles in this issue focus on both the potential of social media usage to foster social cohesion and the possible drawbacks of social media which could negatively influence the development and maintenance of social cohesion. In the articles, social cohesion is examined from different perspectives with or without the background of crisis, and on various social media platforms. The picture that emerges is that of social media as, to borrow a phrase used in one of the articles, a double-edged sword.

Keywords:  crisis communication; social cohesion; social divide; social media; social movements; polarization; political communication



© Stefan Stieglitz, Björn Ross. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.