25th European Regional Conference of the International Telecommunications Society (ITS), Brussels, Belgium, 22-25 June 2014
The aim of this paper is to investigate the effect of the simultaneous use of mass and social media on the users' level of general knowledge of social issues in the highly mediated society in Japan. In particular, it focuses on one of the recent major trends in media convergence known as 'simultaneous multi-screening' i.e., when the users engage with more than one media simultaneously using multiple devices. The data used was collected from an Internet based survey conducted in March 2014 with 2,060 samples from Japan. Using structural equation modelling, the results have shown that multi-screening such as watching television and using social media simultaneously is indeed a common phenomenon in Japan. However, it has only a mild effect on the users' level of general knowledge of social issues as most of the effect came from the viewing of television news and current affair programmes directly. That being said, it has indirectly mediated the effect from the use of social media on the users' level of knowledge of social issues which otherwise has no direct effect at all. The results imply that although simultaneous multi-screening can link up the mass and social media. However, in the context of social issues, currently television news and current affair programmes in Japan appear to be are not a very strong catalyst to trigger the audiences to take immediate action online. These findings provide the foundation for future studies to further investigate what kind of television programmes can motivate the audiences to take further action, and which groups of audience are more likely to be motivated.