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Social Media Messaging Types by US Gubernatorial Candidates

Up next in this AoIR 2015 session is AoIR president Jenny Stromer-Galley, whose focus is on the social media use of US gubernatorial candidates. Their tweeting activities are linked of course to the very lengthy US electoral process from surfacing candidates through primaries and nominating conventions to the elections themselves.

Social Media in Australian Elections through the Years

The next AoIR 2015 paper is by Tim Highfield and me, and I'll add I've added our presentation slides below as soon as I can. The paper will also be a chapter in the forthcoming Routledge Companion to Social Media and Politics, which my colleagues Gunn Enli, Eli Skogerbø, Anders Larsson, Christian Christensen and I have edited – and which will appear in early 2016.

Social Media and Elections in Sweden since 2010

The post-lunch session at AoIR 2015 is a panel on social media and elections that my colleague Tim Highfield and I are contributing to, but we begin with the excellent Anders Olof Larsson, whose focus is on recent Swedish elections. Sweden traditionally has a high level of election participation and substantial Internet and social media access, and social media have become increasingly visible in election campaigns, unsurprisingly this has increased over time.

Tweeting Styles of Candidate Accounts in US Gubernatorial Contests

The next speaker at AoIR 2015 is Sikana Tanupabrungsun, whose focus is on the use of Twitter by gubernatorial candidates in 36 state elections across the United States in 2014. The focus here is on @mentioning between candidates, and the analysis was conducted using automated content analysis approaches. This found that the most frequent mode of address was to attack other candidates.

Does Humour Belong in Politics (on Twitter)?

The next speakers at AoIR 2015 are Kristen Guth and Alex Leavitt, who begin by highlighting Twitter's 2015 attempts to reduce the plagiarism of jokes by retweeting. Their real focus is on humour during the 2012 presidential debates in the US, though, and they focus on the three presidential debates during the campaign.

All Politics Is Local? The Twitter Performance of Local Candidates in the 2013 Australian Federal Election (ASMC 2014)

Social Media and the Transformation of Public Space (ASMC 2014)

All Politics Is Local? The Twitter Performance of Local Candidates in the 2013 Australian Federal Election

Axel Bruns

The phrase “all politics is local” is especially appropriate in the Australian federal electoral context, where all 150 Members of Parliament are elected on the basis of their success in the electoral contests in their local electorates and no adjustments are made to account for their parties' nationwide vote shares. Media coverage, however, tends to focus squarely on the national party leaders, with local contests receiving media attention only in exceptional circumstances. This paper examines the extent to which social media are able to address this gap. During the 2013 Australian federal election, we tracked activity around the Twitter accounts of some 350 MPs and candidates; here, we examine the extent to which candidates and voters use this medium to supplement insufficient local media coverage.

The Changing Rules for Political Campaigning in Japan

The next session at AoIR 2015 starts with Leslie Tkach-Kawasaki, whose focus is on the use of social media in the 2013 upper house election in Japan. Online campaigning has been studied for some time already, with considerable focus on the impact of technological innovation; such research has found that online practices often mirrored offline practices. Online political marketing in particular has been an extension of traditional offline marketing techniques, and the use of social media for campaign involvement has also been explored recently.

Post-war electoral reforms in Japan set up multimember electoral districts where members of the same party would vie for the same seats. The law also distinguishes between political and campaign activities, and governs the distribution of campaign materials (including geographical distribution, the means and content of messages, and the distribution channels).

Professionalisation in Political Campaigning

The final speaker at CMPM2014 is Stephen Mills, whose interest is in the question of professionalisation in political campaigning. But what is being professionalised here? Individuals, institutions, systems? Does professionalisation occur when a cohort of professionals replace a previous non-professional cohort, or is this a more comprehensive institutional change through which new cultural norms are being adopted?

Since when does such professionalisation happen? Is it already over, is it continuing, or is it yet to happen? Does it happen quickly or slowly, disruptively or in an organised manner? And what is it caused by – exogenous factors such as technological change, or endogenous dynamics of adoption, adaptation, hybridisation?

The Early History of Australian Opinion Polling

The next session at CMPM2014 starts with Murray Goot, who takes us back to the ALP's pre-election study in 1961. The common view is that Labor first conducted a professional opinion poll in South Australia in 1968, and nationally in 1971, but this is incorrect: NSW Labor conducted a survey in the 1940s, and federal Labor did so in 1961, focussing on a selection of seats across the various states. It examined respondents' issues agendas and perceptions of parties, as well as their perceptions of local candidates. Interviews also explored the key issues which drove voters.

This first large-scale piece of political research was a benchmark against which subsequent polls can be measured. It focussed mainly on NSW and Victoria, with Queensland dropped due to costs in spite of the potential for changing seats there. The seats were largely marginal ones, or seats where there was significant interest in outcomes. 100 respondents in each electorate were chosen in city seats, 200 in country seats, and the response rate was above 50%.


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