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Tweetocracy Switzerland: exploring the representativeness, structuration and content of swiss party politics on twitter


Wüest, Bruno; Müller, Christian (2014). Tweetocracy Switzerland: exploring the representativeness, structuration and content of swiss party politics on twitter. In: Smart city: new media, social participation and urban governance, Shanghai, 5 June 2014 - 7 June 2014.

Abstract

This contribution puts forward an explorative account of the Swiss political parties' presence on Twitter. Social media in general, and the Twitter microblogging service more in particular, have recently received a lot of attention by scholars who try to harvest the new data source for the social sciences. However, the validity of these data sources is heavily disputed. Therefore, this contribution takes one step back and tries to establish the usefulness of political communication on Twitter for the political sciences in Switzerland, a context which is not well studied so far. More precisely, this study serves two main purposes. First, a descriptive overview over the geographical distribution, network structure and basic dynamic trends of Swiss Twitter accounts which are related to one of the political parties in Switzerland is presented. Subsequently, social network and text analyses are applied to provide evidence on the following questions. In terms of its representativeness, it can be shown that the Swiss partisan Twitter sphere is systematically biases towards the political left and urban areas. As for the structuration of the Twitter sphere, it is revealed that users are separated into a handful of highly networked actors and many peripheral ones. Furthermore, there are clear signs of political homophily among users of the same party. In terms of the Tweets communicated, left and small center parties show a more conversational style than right parties.

Abstract

This contribution puts forward an explorative account of the Swiss political parties' presence on Twitter. Social media in general, and the Twitter microblogging service more in particular, have recently received a lot of attention by scholars who try to harvest the new data source for the social sciences. However, the validity of these data sources is heavily disputed. Therefore, this contribution takes one step back and tries to establish the usefulness of political communication on Twitter for the political sciences in Switzerland, a context which is not well studied so far. More precisely, this study serves two main purposes. First, a descriptive overview over the geographical distribution, network structure and basic dynamic trends of Swiss Twitter accounts which are related to one of the political parties in Switzerland is presented. Subsequently, social network and text analyses are applied to provide evidence on the following questions. In terms of its representativeness, it can be shown that the Swiss partisan Twitter sphere is systematically biases towards the political left and urban areas. As for the structuration of the Twitter sphere, it is revealed that users are separated into a handful of highly networked actors and many peripheral ones. Furthermore, there are clear signs of political homophily among users of the same party. In terms of the Tweets communicated, left and small center parties show a more conversational style than right parties.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Language:English
Event End Date:7 June 2014
Deposited On:21 Dec 2017 15:54
Last Modified:30 Mar 2018 06:16
OA Status:Green

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