A multimodal view of voluntary associations

Chih-Hui Lai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Participation in voluntary associations is often considered challenging due to the fact that humans possess limited time and resources that can be allocated to various types of social activities. The prevalence of multiple modes of communication in our everyday lives may signal the possibility of addressing such traditional problems of voluntary associations. Employing the framework of media multiplexity, this study investigates the factors that predict multimodal participation and how multimodal participation in turn affects overall involvement in voluntary associations. Analyses of the data gathered by the Pew Internet Report show that the degree of affiliations, prior experiences (including participation in online groups, online recruitment, and leadership), and routinized technology use were significant predictors of multimodal group participation. In addition, multimodal group participation mediated the effects of these factors on participation in voluntary associations. Together, multimodal participation and groups' multimodal organizing positively predicted the generation of group impacts. These findings illuminate a new way of understanding voluntary associations in today's media-saturated society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1017-1033
Number of pages17
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • ecology
  • media multiplexity
  • mixed-mode relationships
  • social capital
  • voluntary associations


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