The power of likes: Social media logic and political communication
AbstractPolitical communication on social media is the topic of this dissertation. The Internet and social media platforms have provided participants in the public sphere with new ways to connect, communicate and distribute information. This study examines how and why the three main actor groups within political communication – political actors, media actors and citizens – connect and interact on social media during the electoral process in Norway in 2013. This hybrid media landscape is characterized by political actors who can bypass media as gatekeepers and communicate directly with voters on their own Facebook pages. Simultaneously, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are important traffic drivers for mass media, as well as convenient ways for political journalists to reach readers and political sources. Nevertheless, as I argue in this dissertation, the new mechanisms for attention, visibility and popularity on social media platforms is not sufficiently articulated or understood in the existing research literature. This dissertation suggests that the emerging theories of social media logic can help us understand how political communication occur in networked publics. Central in my arguments is a critical understanding of social media logic and affordances offered by communication technologies. Affordances are here understood as the action possibilities that communication technologies allow for, such as liking, sharing or measuring the response of an item. Based on the empirical findings from the articles in Part II, as well as the theoretical discussion in this cover chapter, I have developed the conceptual framework for political communication on social media, which allows us to analyse how political communication occurs on social media platforms. The conceptual framework consists of five high-level affordances: Publishing, visibility, networking, connectivity, and segmentation. I argue that these affordances are the building blocks of the social media logic in political communication. Lastly, this dissertation outlines the implications of the social media logic for the three key actor groups in this study. I argue that one of the main consequences of the social media logic is media actors’ weakening role as gatekeepers of information, potential turning media actors into curators of information.
List of papers
|Article 1: Anders O Larsson and Bente Kalsnes. “Of course we are on Facebook” – Use and non-use of social media among Swedish and Norwegian politicians. Published in European Journal of Communication, December 2014. The paper is available in DUO: http://urn.nb.no/URN:NBN:no-56538|
|Article 2: Bente Kalsnes. The social media paradox explained: Comparing political parties’ social media strategy vs. practice. Published in Social media + Society, May, 2016 The paper is available in DUO: http://urn.nb.no/URN:NBN:no-56539|
|Article 3: Bente Kalsnes. Intermedia agenda setting: Political journalists’ source hunting in social media. Published in News Across Media: Production, Distribution and Consumption (2016). Jensen, J.L., Mortensen, M., Ørmen, J. (Eds.) Routledge Research in Journalism The paper is not available in DUO due to publisher restrictions.|
|Article 4: Bente Kalsnes, Arne H. Krumsvik, Tanja Storsul. Social media as a political backchannel: Twitter use during televised election debates in Norway. Published in Aslib Journal of Information Management, 2014 The paper is available in DUO: http://urn.nb.no/URN:NBN:no-56536|
|Article 5: Bente Kalsnes, Anders Olof Larsson, Gunn Enli. The social media logic of political interaction: Citizens’ and politicians’ relationship on Facebook and Twitter. Submitted to First Monday, November 2015 To be published. The paper is not available in DUO awaiting publishing.|