Political parties and Facebook: A study of Icelandic political parties and their social media usage

Baldvin Þór Bergsson

Abstract


The importance of social media in the national discourse is increasing but little is known about their true effects on political communication and participation. The paper examines how the Icelandic political parties used social media during the campaign for the 2013 general elections and possible influence of the electorate. Data from the Icelandic National Election Study was used to examine a possible link between political interest and participation. International studies are used as a reference since Icelandic studies on the subject are limited, and a theoretical overview of the nature and effect of social media is provided. The findings of this paper are that social media was primarily used as a one-way communication tool and that interaction between parties and the electorate was limited. Facebook is by far the most important social media due to its spread and easiness to send information to a large group. The study does not find evidence for the claim that voters had much effect on the campaign through social media nor that social media affected the election results. People with much interest in politics are more likely to use the internet to receive information from the parties.

Keywords


Social Media; Facebook; Democracy; e-democracy.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13177/irpa.a.2014.10.2.8

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