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Popularity on Facebook during election campaigns: an analysis of issues and emotions in parties’ online communication


Blassnig, Sina; Udris, Linards; Staender, Anna; Vogler, Daniel (2021). Popularity on Facebook during election campaigns: an analysis of issues and emotions in parties’ online communication. International Journal of Communication, 15:4399-4419.

Abstract

Successful communication strategies on social media are of great concern for parties’ election campaigns. Research increasingly focuses on identifying which factors promote popularity cues (e.g., Likes or Shares) as indicators of success. However, existing studies have neglected the role of issues in multiparty environments. Furthermore, it is still unclear whether positive or negative emotions are the stronger drivers of user engagement. We investigate parties’ emphasis on political issues and emotions as success factors in their election campaign communication on Facebook. We analyze the Facebook pages of the 6 largest parties in Germany and Austria before the respective national elections in 2017. We find that parties’ top issues, identity issues, and positive and negative emotions increase popularity cues. Yet these factors trigger different types of reactions: Whereas Shares are triggered by the use of top issues and positive emotions, Comments are evoked by identity issues and predominantly by negative emotions.

Abstract

Successful communication strategies on social media are of great concern for parties’ election campaigns. Research increasingly focuses on identifying which factors promote popularity cues (e.g., Likes or Shares) as indicators of success. However, existing studies have neglected the role of issues in multiparty environments. Furthermore, it is still unclear whether positive or negative emotions are the stronger drivers of user engagement. We investigate parties’ emphasis on political issues and emotions as success factors in their election campaign communication on Facebook. We analyze the Facebook pages of the 6 largest parties in Germany and Austria before the respective national elections in 2017. We find that parties’ top issues, identity issues, and positive and negative emotions increase popularity cues. Yet these factors trigger different types of reactions: Whereas Shares are triggered by the use of top issues and positive emotions, Comments are evoked by identity issues and predominantly by negative emotions.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute for Research on the Public Sphere and Society
Dewey Decimal Classification:070 News media, journalism & publishing
Uncontrolled Keywords:Social media, political communication, popularity cues, political parties, elections
Language:English
Date:September 2021
Deposited On:21 Oct 2021 13:12
Last Modified:25 Feb 2024 02:45
Publisher:University of Southern California
ISSN:1932-8036
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:https://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/17040/3573
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)