New Publication: National Politics on Twitter

What started as an idea at Axel Bruns’ PhD Seminar in the summer of 2011 is finally my most important scientific publication so far. Yesterday, National Politics on Twitter: Structures and Topics of a Networked Public Sphere was published in Information, Communication & Society (ICS). The paper will be printed in a special issue covering the Internet Research 13.0 conference. I am really happy about this publication, because ICS belongs to the most important journals in my field of research.

Here is the…

  • the draft version of the article [coming soon].
  • the research paper Twitterpolitik [26,4 MB PDF, 58 pages, in German) that covers the same topic.
  • the abstract 

National Politics on Twitter: Structures and Topics of a Networked Public Sphere

The increasing use of Twitter by politicians, journalists, political strategists and citizens has made it an important part of the networked sphere in which political issues are publicly negotiated. The growing number of studies investigating the relationship between Twitter and politics supports this claim. To the knowledge of the authors, this is the first study that examines the interrelation of individuals on the basis of their professions, their topics and their connection to mass media. Taking the example of Austria, they developed a user-centred method that overcomes the limitations inherent to other approaches in this field. The different types of data they gathered – Twitter user data, 1,375 newspaper articles and manually coded 145,356 tweets – allowed them to perform several analyses which provided insights into the structure and topics of a national public Twittersphere. Their results show that the network formed by Austria’s most relevant political Twitter users is dominated by an elite of political professionals but open to outside participation. The topic analysis reveals the emergence of niche authorities and the periodic divergence of the political discourse on Twitter with that of mass media. The article concludes with a summary of how these phenomena relate to political participation.

Keywords
Twitter networks, social media, mass media, politics, journalism, participation