Local election blogs: Networking among the political elite
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionInformation Polity. 2013, 18 (4), 299-313. 10.3233/IP-130314
This article explores the role of social media (essentially blogs) in the 2011 Norwegian local election campaigns. We commence by developing a framework for investigating political communication using the social media that conceptualises the horizontal and vertical conversation along two dimensions: participants and interaction. Next, we apply our framework in a case study of election blogs in twelve Norwegian municipalities using multiple data sources. In contrast to the democratic vision of social media, our analysis demonstrates that election blogs are primarily used by those who are politically active in other arenas as well and that most communication consists of one-way information dissemination with little actual exchange of information. The main findings also indicate a paradox: there is a mismatch between the types of communication the candidates perceive as important and their actual behaviour in the local election campaign. While candidates say they want to connect with the electorate, in practice they are networking with each other. Our findings are discussed in light of the institutional setting in which the blogging take place, and the specific social media under investigation.