Can social network sites bridge the politician-citizen divide: Interaction on SNS during the Danish parliamentary election 2011

Sander Andreas Schwartz

Abstract


Politicians are eager to engage with citizens because the support for political parties is declining in Denmark like many other places in the world increasing a politician-citizen divide. Critics also fear that the Internet might be contributing to a polarization in overall political debate. This study examines whether social media can be part of a solution to this problem and how politicians can successfully encourage interaction and debate. In a unique collaboration with the Danish Broadcasting Corporation this study will analyze interaction between politicians and citizens based on a collection of politicians’ Facebook activity during the Danish National Election 2011 (totaling +100.000 status messages and comments). All this contributes to an understanding of how diverse a public the politicians have been able to engage with during the election, and whether social network sites as Facebook might be a promising platform for bridging the political divide between politicians and citizens.

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