Amplification and Virtual Back-Patting: The Rationalities of Social Media Uses in the Nina Larsson Web Campaign

Amplification and Virtual Back-Patting: The Rationalities of Social Media Uses in the Nina Larsson Web Campaign

Jakob Svensson (Uppsala University, Sweden)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6062-5.ch003
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Abstract

This chapter explores the rationalities of politicians' social media uses in Web-campaigning in a party-based democracy. This is done from an in-depth case study of a Swedish politician, Nina Larsson, who with the help of a PR agency utilized several social media platforms in her campaign to become re-elected to the parliament in 2010. By analyzing how and for what purposes Larsson used social media in her Web-campaign, this chapter concludes that even though discourses of instrumental rationality and of communicative rationality were common to make her practices relevant, Nina primarily used social media to amplify certain offline news media texts as well as to commend and support other liberal party members. Hence, from this case, the authors conclude that Web-campaigning on social media is used for expressive purposes, to negotiate and maintain an attractive political image within the party hierarchy.
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Social Media, Individualization And Web-Campaigning

Social media is a contested term since it implies that traditional media would not encompass social dimensions. What is often referred to when talking about social media are online communication platforms were the social seems to refer to the possibility of users to influence and interact with the content and each other in some way or another. O'Reilly (oreilly.com/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html, retrieved 16th April 2006) claims that for a website to be defined as social the user him/herself should be able to participate and contribute to the content of the site. The user should be able to take control over his/hers information and the overall design should be interactive and user-friendly. The more elaborate definition of Social Network Sites (SNS) focuses on the possibility for users to articulate their social networks and make them visible to others (Ellison & boyd, 2007, p. 2). SNS are defined as web-based services that allow users to construct a public, or half-public profile, tie this profile to other users, sometimes self-selected, whose contacts in turn are made available by the service. In this chapter I will attend to Nina's uses of Facebook, Twitter, an interactive campaign website and two blogs. Since neither the blogs nor the interactive campaign website would fit the SNS definition by Ellison & boyd, I will use O'Reilly's more encompassing definition of social media.

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