The annual ICA conference is an important meeting place for communication scholars around the world, and given the results of the review process that were distributed yesterday, I will have the opportunity to once again present some of my ongoing research at this years meeting. This year, the conference is held in Seattle, a city I had the opportunity to visit during the 2011 AOIR conference – a great experience indeed, and I look forward to go back. I will be presenting some of the findings featured in the paper “Everyday Elites, Citizens or Extremists? Assessing the Use and Users of Non-Election Political Hashtags” which, as the title implies, presents a structural analysis of the types of users that take place in hashtagged political discussion on Twitter. Specifically, tweets from political contexts in Sweden and Norway are collected and analyzed with a specific focus on the top users and their activities. Results indicate that while thematic Twitter discussion can indeed serve as a potential channel for ordinary citizens, the influence of established as well as political extremist actors is also clearly discerned. This tendency for in particular right-wing populist actors to utilize the novel medium is especially visible in the Swedish contexts – a finding which is further problematized and discussed in the paper. If you would like to read the draft that was submitted to ICA, get in touch and I will be happy to send you a copy.
Moreover, my abstract entitled “Birds of a Feather Flock Together? Party Leaders on Twitter during the 2013 Norwegian Elections” (co-authored with Øyvind Ihlen) has been accepted for presentation during the Strategic Communication Campaigns in a Contemporary, Digital and Networked Society preconference workshop. All in all, it looks like a promising conference.