Radboud Summer School 2018: Theorizing and Analyzing Social Media in Political Communication and Journalism

Just a quick shout-out: in summer 2018 (6-17 August), my social media course will be on offer again. The course titled “Theorizing and Analyzing Social Media in Political Communication and Journalism”, be for two entire weeks. The first week will be mostly about social media from a theoretical perspective. The second week will be about using R for social media data collection, and various types of analysis of social media data. For further details, keep an eye on the website of the Radboud Summer School.

Hope to see you in Nijmegen!!!

Radboud Summer School course “Social Media Theory and Data in Journalism and Political Communication”

I am pleased to announce that I will teach a course on social media theory and data in journalism and political communication. It will take place in the first week of August 2016 in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Click to read the course description.

Social media (such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Plurk, Renren) are important new digital platforms for online social networking and microblogging to discuss all kinds of issues (serious and trivial).
A subdivision of social media research concerns how regular people (citizens), political actors (politicians, organisations) and media professionals (journalists) use social media to share opinions about issues, create online communities and use social media strategically to inform or to win over people, e.g., to vote for them. In this course you will learn how to look at this social media data to understand how journalists, politicians, and citizens use social media. The course has three main parts: (a) theorizing social media, (b) theorizing theories about online journalism and political communication, and (c) methods of data collection and analysis of social media.
Social media theories will look at the specifics of social media design and how this affects online communication and networks. This theme is applicable to all kinds of social media and connected digital media. Subsequently we will look at creating social media theories for journalism and political communication using traditional and new approaches to create social media theories such as agenda setting research and networked journalism. Furthermore, we will discuss and use methods of collection and analysing social media data. The empirical and hands-on part will focus on understanding the structure of social media data (e.g., networks based on social connections but also sharing activities), the dynamics of social media data (e.g., change across time of social media activity) and the actual content of social media (i.e., expressed opinions).
In the morning programme the main focus will be theory, although methods will be a part of those sessions. In the afternoon we will have hands-on meetings on how to collect social media data, how to develop measurements instruments and analysing social media in terms of structure and content.

General information about summer courses from the Radboud University in 2016 can be found here.

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.