Right-wingers on the rise online: Insights from the 2018 Swedish elections

Academic publishing is a funny business – while double blind peer review is probably the best way we have at our disposal to assess the quality of scientific contributions, it is by no means a perfect system. This paper – “Right-wingers on the rise online: Insights from the 2018 Swedish elections” – was just published online published online before print in new media & society, which is considered a high-ranked journal in my field. Before I submitted it to that journal, the very same paper was desk rejected at another similarly high-ranked journal. Go figure. Anyway, the abstract reads as follows:

Political elections see several actors rise to the fore in order to influence and inform voters. Increasingly, such processes take place on social media like Facebook, where media outlets and politicians alike utilize seek promote their respective agenda. Given the recent rise of so-called hyperpartisan media—often described as purveyors of “fake news”—and populist right-wing parties across a series of western contexts, this study details the degree to which these novel actors succeed in overtaking their more mainstream or indeed established competitors when it comes to audience engagement on the mentioned platform. Focusing on the one-month period leading up to the 2018 Swedish national elections, the study finds that right-wing actors across the media and the political sector are more successful in engaging their Facebook followers than their competitors. As audience engagement is a key factor for social media success, the study closes by providing a discussion on the repercussions for professionals within the media and the political sector.

For those of you interested in reading the full paper, it is available on the publisher web page as well as in pre-print varieties over at ResearchGate and Academia.edu. This was also the first study published where I make use of data gathered by means of CrowdTangle – more to come…

“Don’t wanna hurt no kangaroo”

I’m wrapping up my stay at QUT in Brisbane where I have participated in the #AoIR2019 conference. This year, I presented some ongoing work about the changing nature of popular political party posts over time. I also served as an advisor in the Early Career Scholars Workshop which was organised as a preconference.

Picture by @raquelrecuero
Picture by @Timothyjgraham
Picture by @raquelrecuero – I might look sleepy, but I assure you I was not.
Panel selfie by @Timothyjgraham

We won a prize

They almost got the last name right. Almost.

A paper I co-authored with Øyvind Ihlen and Ketil Raknes was recently awarded the best paper award during the 2019 EUPRERA conference. Here’s what the jury had to say about our paper, entitled “The democratic success of Twitter as a lobbying tool”:

The paper discusses the contribution of Twitter to democratic goals of engagement and debate by asking “What type of interest groups and organizations succeed in having members of parliament react on (retweet) their Twitter messages?”. To answer this question, the authors analyzed the extent to which Norwegian politicians retweet messages from interest groups and lobbyists during normal parliamentary activity. Despite the touted democratic potential of Twitter, the researchers find that it is the powerful groups and organizations that get heard more by politicians, also on Twitter. The paper is excellently written with solid links to the relevant literature and sound methodology.

September in Berlin

I’m spending September in Berlin, more specifically as a research fellow at the Weizenbaum Institut für die vernetzte Gesellschaft. During my time here, I’ve given a couple of talks (evidence below) and planned out work on a project I will be undertaking with Ulrike Klinger regarding the growth of Facebook for political uses in a series of European countries.

Wes Anderson Palettes for Tableau

Image from Tableau Community Forums.

A colleague alerted me to the existence of the Wes Anderson color palettes for R, which of course has led to a serious reconsideration on my part regarding the ways in which I usually format my graphs. For reference, please visit this page. As I like to do data visualization in both R and Tableau, and as I could not find a set of RGB codes suitable for import into the latter of the two, I went ahead and adopted my Preferences.tps file following these instructions. The results can be found below. If you are interested, you should be able to simply copy this code and paste it into your own Tableau Preferences.tps file. I have also made a copy of my own file available for download here.

<color-palette name="BottleRocket_all" type="regular" >
<color>#A42820</color>
<color>#5F5647</color>
<color>#9B110E</color>
<color>#3F5151</color>
<color>#4E2A1E</color>
<color>#550307</color>
<color>#0C1707</color>
<color>#FAD510</color>
<color>#CB2314</color>
<color>#273046</color>
<color>#354823</color>
<color>#1E1E1E</color>
</color-palette> 

<color-palette name="BottleRocket1" type="regular" >
<color>#A42820</color>
<color>#5F5647</color>
<color>#9B110E</color>
<color>#3F5151</color>
<color>#4E2A1E</color>
<color>#550307</color>
<color>#0C1707</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="BottleRocket2" type="regular" >
<color>#FAD510</color>
<color>#CB2314</color>
<color>#273046</color>
<color>#354823</color>
<color>#1E1E1E</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="Rushmore_all" type="regular" >
<color>#E1BD6D</color>
<color>#EABE94</color>
<color>#0B775E</color>
<color>#35274A</color>
<color>#F2300F</color>
<color>#E1BD6D</color>
<color>#EABE94</color>
<color>#0B775E</color>
<color>#35274A</color>
<color>#F2300F</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="Rushmore" type="regular" >
<color>#E1BD6D</color>
<color>#EABE94</color>
<color>#0B775E</color>
<color>#35274A</color>
<color>#F2300F</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="Rushmore1" type="regular" >
<color>#E1BD6D</color>
<color>#EABE94</color>
<color>#0B775E</color>
<color>#35274A</color>
<color>#F2300F</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="Royal_all" type="regular" >
<color>#899DA4</color>
<color>#C93312</color>
<color>#FAEFD1</color>
<color>#DC863B</color>
<color>#9A8822</color>
<color>#F5CDB4</color>
<color>#F8AFA8</color>
<color>#FDDDA0</color>
<color>#74A089</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="Royal1" type="regular" >
<color>#899DA4</color>
<color>#C93312</color>
<color>#FAEFD1</color>
<color>#DC863B</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="Royal2" type="regular" >
<color>#9A8822</color>
<color>#F5CDB4</color>
<color>#F8AFA8</color>
<color>#FDDDA0</color>
<color>#74A089</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="Zissou1" type="regular" >
<color>#3B9AB2</color>
<color>#78B7C5</color>
<color>#EBCC2A</color>
<color>#E1AF00</color>
<color>#F21A00</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="Darjeeling_all" type="regular" >
<color>#FF0000</color>
<color>#00A08A</color>
<color>#F2AD00</color>
<color>#F98400</color>
<color>#5BBCD6</color>
<color>#ECCBAE</color>
<color>#046C9A</color>
<color>#D69C4E</color>
<color>#ABDDDE</color>
<color>#000000</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="Darjeeling1" type="regular" >
<color>#FF0000</color>
<color>#00A08A</color>
<color>#F2AD00</color>
<color>#F98400</color>
<color>#5BBCD6</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="Darjeeling2" type="regular" >
<color>#ECCBAE</color>
<color>#046C9A</color>
<color>#D69C4E</color>
<color>#ABDDDE</color>
<color>#000000</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="Chevalier1" type="regular" >
<color>#446455</color>
<color>#FDD262</color>
<color>#D3DDDC</color>
<color>#C7B19C</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="FantasticFox1" type="regular" >
<color>#DD8D29</color>
<color>#E2D200</color>
<color>#46ACC8</color>
<color>#E58601</color>
<color>#B40F20</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="Moonrise1" type="regular" >
<color>#F3DF6C</color>
<color>#CEAB07</color>
<color>#D5D5D3</color>
<color>#24281A</color>
<color>#798E87</color>
<color>#C27D38</color>
<color>#CCC591</color>
<color>#29211F</color>
<color>#85D4E3</color>
<color>#F4B5BD</color>
<color>#9C964A</color>
<color>#CDC08C</color>
<color>#FAD77B</color>
<color>#</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="Moonrise1" type="regular" >
<color>#F3DF6C</color>
<color>#CEAB07</color>
<color>#D5D5D3</color>
<color>#24281A</color>
<color>#</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="Moonrise2" type="regular" >
<color>#798E87</color>
<color>#C27D38</color>
<color>#CCC591</color>
<color>#29211F</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="Moonrise3" type="regular" >
<color>#85D4E3</color>
<color>#F4B5BD</color>
<color>#9C964A</color>
<color>#CDC08C</color>
<color>#FAD77B</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="Cavalcanti1" type="regular" >
<color>#D8B70A</color>
<color>#02401B</color>
<color>#A2A475</color>
<color>#81A88D</color>
<color>#972D15</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="GrandBudapest_all" type="regular" >
<color>#F1BB7B</color>
<color>#FD6467</color>
<color>#5B1A18</color>
<color>#D67236</color>
<color>#E6A0C4</color>
<color>#C6CDF7</color>
<color>#D8A499</color>
<color>#7294D4</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="GrandBudapest1" type="regular" >
<color>#F1BB7B</color>
<color>#FD6467</color>
<color>#5B1A18</color>
<color>#D67236 </color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="GrandBudapest2" type="regular" >
<color>#E6A0C4</color>
<color>#C6CDF7</color>
<color>#D8A499</color>
<color>#7294D4</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="IsleofDogs_all" type="regular" >
<color>#9986A5</color>
<color>#79402E</color>
<color>#CCBA72</color>
<color>#0F0D0E</color>
<color>#D9D0D3</color>
<color>#8D8680</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="IsleofDogs1" type="regular" >
<color>#9986A5</color>
<color>#79402E</color>
<color>#CCBA72</color>
<color>#0F0D0E</color>
<color>#D9D0D3</color>
<color>#8D8680</color>
<color>#EAD3BF</color>
<color>#AA9486</color>
<color>#B6854D</color>
<color>#39312F</color>
<color>#1C1718</color>
</color-palette>

<color-palette name="IsleofDogs2" type="regular" >
<color>#EAD3BF</color>
<color>#AA9486</color>
<color>#B6854D</color>
<color>#39312F</color>
<color>#1C1718</color>
</color-palette>

Note that the original R code feature multiple sets of colors for some of the movies – for example, we can choose between “BottleRocket1” and “BottleRocket2”. For the Tableau code included here, I have merged these multiple files as well as kept the original parts – so for Bottle Rocket, the code features “BottleRocket_all” in combination with the two previously mentioned sets. As you’ll see, there are several such sets that are also offered in a combined fashion.

I think the Zissou set of colors is my favourite. Which one is yours?

“Washington D.C. / It’s paradise to me”

“It’s not the way they put folks on the moon”

Acceptance letters for the 2019 ICA conference are out, and this year I am fortunate enough to be involved in four presentations:

  • Larsson, Anders Olof (2019). Coherent Clusters’ or ‘Fuzzy Zones’ – Understanding attention and structure in online political participation.
  • Skogerbø, Eli and Larsson, Anders Olof (2019). Comparing Twitter and Instagram as platforms for party leader communication – Findings from the 2017 Norwegian election.
  • Russmann, UtaSvensson, Jakob and Larsson, Anders Olof (2019). Portraying Politics – Instagram use in Scandinavian election campaigns. 
  • Rustad, Gry Cecilie and Larsson, Anders Olof (2019). Spreading Skam: Social media television reception and textual engagement.

A healthy mix of political communication and television studies – no journalism presentations for me this year, it would seem. All in all, it looks like I will have a busy conference once when the International Communication Association convenes in Washington D.C. at the end of may.


Guest lecture in Uppsala

Just back in Oslo from a guest lecture in Uppsala – at the department where I worked for several years and got my Ph. D. I was invited by the alumni organisation at the university to talk about some of my ongoing research regarding the 2018 Swedish election. Hopefully I’ll be able to present some of this research in a more formalised setting sooner rather than later.

ECREA in Lugano

Outside…

… and inside (thanks to Rossella Rega for tweeting and to Eli Skogerbø for co-authoring)

Presentations accepted at the 2018 ECREA conference

The dust has settled following the review process for the seventh bi-annual European Communication Conference, to be held this year in Lugano, Switzerland. Three submissions that I was involved with were accepted for presentation:

… sort of a “mixed bag” of my research interests – mostly political communication, but also a presentation based on my ongoing collaboration with Gry Cecilie Rustad (university of Oslo) regarding Instagram fan engagement with the popular Norwegian webb-tv-series Skam.

Convergence editorial board membership


I am pleased to announce that I have accepted the offer to serve on the editorial board of
Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies. A truly interdisciplinary journal, Convergence features scholarship emanating from humanities and from the social sciences. As I mostly associate myself with the latter of these two overarching disciplines, I look forward to playing a part in shaping the output of the journal in this regard in the coming years.