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Tweetocracy Switzerland: Exploring the evolu- tion, representativeness and structuration of Swiss party politics on Twitter


Wüest, B; Müller, C (2015). Tweetocracy Switzerland: Exploring the evolu- tion, representativeness and structuration of Swiss party politics on Twitter. In: Wu, Xinxun. International Media Industry Review Vol 11. Shanghai, China: International Media Industry Review, 1-28.

Abstract

This contribution puts forward an explorative account of the Swiss political parties’ presence on Twitter. Social media in general, and the Twitter micro-blogging service more in particular, have recently received a lot of attention by social science scholars and political observers, yet the validity of these data sources is heavily disputed. This study takes one step back and tries to establish an empirically testable data base for party communication on Twitter in Switzerland, a context which is not well studied so far. More precisely, this study serves two main purposes. First, the representativeness of Swiss party accounts on Twitter in terms ideology, location and language is assessed. Subsequently, social network analysis is applied to provide evidence on the degree of political homophily and party elite dominance. It can be shown that the Swiss partisan Twitter sphere is systematically biased towards the political left and urban areas. Furthermore, it is revealed that Twitter users are separated into a handful of highly networked actors and many peripheral ones. These results have direct implications for social scientists and political observers interested in harnessing reliable social media data.

Abstract

This contribution puts forward an explorative account of the Swiss political parties’ presence on Twitter. Social media in general, and the Twitter micro-blogging service more in particular, have recently received a lot of attention by social science scholars and political observers, yet the validity of these data sources is heavily disputed. This study takes one step back and tries to establish an empirically testable data base for party communication on Twitter in Switzerland, a context which is not well studied so far. More precisely, this study serves two main purposes. First, the representativeness of Swiss party accounts on Twitter in terms ideology, location and language is assessed. Subsequently, social network analysis is applied to provide evidence on the degree of political homophily and party elite dominance. It can be shown that the Swiss partisan Twitter sphere is systematically biased towards the political left and urban areas. Furthermore, it is revealed that Twitter users are separated into a handful of highly networked actors and many peripheral ones. These results have direct implications for social scientists and political observers interested in harnessing reliable social media data.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:05 Feb 2016 07:06
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 20:02
Publisher:International Media Industry Review

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