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Social Media and Scandinavian Politics

The next speaker in our ASMC14 panel is Anders Larsson, whose interest is in the professionalisation of politics – especially in the context of the increasing use of social media and other ICTs. Campaigns now regularly use social media for political marketing, and Anders's study focusses on the use of Facebook for such purposes – using Netvizz, he gathered activity around the Facebook pages of Swedish and Norwegian parties, party leaders, and other politicians.

For Norway, such activity by political actors spikes around the September 2013 election, of course; activity in Sweden is more stable, and spikes around a major political meeting. The volume of likes and shares that such posts receive from Facebook users is wildly variable, however; in Norway, some of the minor parties receive surprisingly strong engagement, but the key party leaders also perform strongly. Norway's right-wing Progress Party is also very strong here.

In Sweden, sharing activity is at times larger by one order of magnitude, and again the Swedish right-wing Democrats are especially strong performers, while everyone else performs less well. To some extent, then, social media activities by the parties reflect the political status quo, while the response is skewed more strongly toward the minor and ideologically more marginal parties.