Reflections on the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election in the Turkish Blogosphere

Reflections on the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election in the Turkish Blogosphere

Mehmet Yilmaz (Ege University, Turkey) and Umit Isikdag (Beykent University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/ijicst.2011070105
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Abstract

The current study presents the results of a research investigation into the role of political blogs in the international political communication process by focusing on the 2008 U.S. presidential election and its reflection in the Turkish blogosphere. Four types of analysis were carried out in order to (a) evaluate the overall blogosphere’s reaction in Turkey towards the U.S. presidential candidates; (b) measure the awareness of Internet audience in Turkey about the candidates; (c) identify the main themes of discourse in the Turkish blogosphere; and (d) determine the level of interactivity in blogs in the discussion of the candidates. A total of 205 political blogs were examined. The findings indicate that a direct relationship between the level of online activity of the candidates and the number of blog entries and comments.
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Blogging And The Political Process

There are several venues of blog research that provide insight into political blogs’ communication function (Lawson-Borders & Kirk, 2005, pp. 551-555). First is the investigation of the blog as a social/political diary. The Internet empowers users to develop and maintain communities through multiple channels such as chat rooms, support groups, electronic mailing lists, personal web pages, and blogs. Blogs provide an opportunity for people to share their thoughts and experiences on the Internet (Deuze, 2003). Second is the analysis of blogs as organizing tools, since blogs are often seen as motivational tools and participatory outlets. Third, blogs are viewed as a form of civic, participatory journalism. Balnaves et al. (as cited in Lawson-Borders & Kirk, 2005, pp. 551-555) considered blogs as a new form of participatory media that bypasses traditional gatekeepers and allow more individuals into public discourse (some might consider blogs a new form of participatory journalism). Finally, blogs can be viewed as a tool for opinion formation, as they are said to influence agenda setting and framing processes (Farrell & Drezner, 2008).

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