Local Election Campaign in Social Media : Evidence from Norwegian Municipalities
Publication: Research - peer-review › Paper without publisher/journal
In this paper we focus on the usage of social media in political election campaigns. These new arenas have become increasingly important for democratic purposes, such as opinion sharing and discussions between candidates and voters. But there is a lack of research on how social media is used in local election campaigns. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate the use of social media as it was intended to be central arenas for local election campaigns in Norwegian municipalities. For that purpose we first develop a model of political communication in social media that conceptualise the horizontal and vertical conversation along three dimensions: participants, interaction and the level of nuance. Secondly, we use the model in an empirical study of the use of election blogs in the Norwegian local elections of 2011. We base the study on several different data sources (survey to political candidates, content registration of local blogs, and log file data of local blogs through Google Analytics). In contrast to the democratic vision for social media the analysis demonstrates that the election blogs primarily are used by those who are most politically active in advance. The analysis also shows that the majority of participation consists of one-way information dissemination with little exchange of information and opinions. The main findings also indicate a paradox: there is a mismatch between the type of communication the candidate themselves say is important in the local election campaign and their actual behavior in social media. The experiences from the Norwegian local elections indicate that the usage of social media has not yet constituted a vital democratic frontier. The myth that the “tone" in online debates always is hard, concise and person fixed has also been disproved.
|Number of pages||30|
|Conference||European Consortium of Political Research (ECPR).|
|Period||10/04/12 → 15/04/12|
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