New publication in Information, Communication and Society

Early this week a new publication of mine, titled “Live audience responses to live televised election debates: time series analysis of issue salience and party salience on audience behavior” and co-authored by Philip Hans Franses was published (online first) in Information, Communication and Society. The article can be downloaded here, and the abstract is below.

Televised political debates are the platforms for party leaders to outline their party’s political programs and to attack those of their political opponents. At the same time journalists who moderate the debates are testing the party leaders’ ability to clearly outline and defend their programs. Television audiences of election debates evaluate these party leaders and political parties based on their television performances. Prior to the social media era, viewers’ evaluations were collected through phone surveys or web questionnaires. Nowadays viewers share their opinions in real-time on social media. Particularly Twitter is used in the Netherlands as the platform to share these opinions. In this study tweets produced by the audiences of five different televised debates that took place during the campaign for the Dutch 2012 parliamentary elections are analyzed in terms of tweeting about politicians and parties as well as political issues, as well as the content of the debates. This allowed us, using time series analysis, to test the relation between issue salience in debates and issue salience of the audience on Twitter. The issues of ‘Employment and income’ and ‘Europe’ were the most tweeted about, roughly aligning with the attention these issues received in televised debates. Findings further show there are consistent audience reactions to issues discussed in the debates: issues of ‘Housing’, ‘Care for the needy’, and ‘Europe’ showing the strongest effects. However, candidates and parties are not explicitly associated by people active on Twitter when certain political issues are being debated on TV.

Election campaign in the Netherlands and the use of Twitter – A JCMC article

Brief visit to Australian National University

Early July, attending the RC33 conference, Robert Ackland (Australian Demographic & Social Research Institute of the Australian National University in Canberra) invited me to give a seminar about my research on the use of online campaigning in election time. I gladly accepted his invitation: Seminar Vergeer.
So, last friday we met in the morning to talk a bit about our research on the Web. Later we were joined by Mahin Raissi and Heather Booth to talk about research on social capital and Facebook.
The seminar was scheduled for the afternoon, after the lunch. I was very pleased to see a nice crowd to have turned out for the event. My seminar was about the research on social media (particuarly Twitter) and elections as published in various journals, but also on different issues concerning data collection, cleaning and analysis.
Unfortunately, I am not really acquainted with Australian politics, otherwise I would have taken some local examples. The presentation has few new elements because it was compiled from earlier presentations but may be considered as an overview of my research on Twitter use by candidates.

Anyway, thanks to Robert Ackland for inviting me and organizing the event.