Exploring Affordances of Social Media Use in Election Campaigns

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Exploring Affordances of Social Media Use in Election Campaigns

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Title: Exploring Affordances of Social Media Use in Election Campaigns
What Political Parties Want to Facilitate, Project and Create
Author: Dyrby, Signe; Blegind Jensen, Tina
Abstract: In recent years, social media have become omnipresent and highly important for social networking and content sharing. Lately we have witnessed how also political parties adopt social media as part of their political campaign strategy. The purpose of this work-in-progress paper is to investigate this tendency by posing two research questions: 1) what do political parties perceive as affordances of social media use in their campaign strategy? And 2) how are these affordances reflected in the political parties’ actual actions during the campaign? To address the two questions, we conducted a qualitative case study of the political parties’ use of Facebook in the Danish general election in 2011. Our preliminary findings reveal three main categories of affordances that the political parties wish to pursue: 1) they want to facilitate direct communication to promote political interests and create room for dialogue in a controlled environment, 2) they want to project an image of authenticity through an informal media, and 3) they want to create interaction and involvement through dynamic relationships with voters. A closer look at the parties’ actual use of Facebook reveals that their intention of generating interaction and involvement is limited by their actions as most of them do not engage with the users’ posts and comments. The tensions between perceived affordances and actual use prompt further investigation of what political parties should consider when engaging in social media activities as part of their campaign strategy.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/8727
Date: 2013-06-20
Notes: Paper presented at 2012 Pre-ICIS Workshop: Open Data and Open Innovation in eGovernment. Dec. 15 2012. Orlando, Florida, USA

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