Category Archives: publication

New publication – European Journal of Communication


Recently accepted for publication in European Journal of Communication, “Birds Of A Feather Flock Together? Party Leaders On Twitter During The 2013 Norwegian Elections” will probably be my last research contribution delving into the 2013 Norwegian elections. But then again, a couple of ideas are brewing in the back of my head, so you never know. Anyway, the paper at hand, co-authored with the illustrious Øyvind Ihlen, studies the Twitter use Norwegian party leaders during said election. While previous research has largely found Twitter to be somewhat of an ‘elite medium’, our findings suggest changes in this regard. Indeed, the party leaders make use of Twitter’s @reply functionality to higher degrees than would have been expected from previous scholarship. Nevertheless, this type of communicative behaviour is mostly undertaken in unique clusters of users featuring little overlap. As we suggest towards the end of the paper,

In one sense then, it could be argued that the findings strengthen the idea of the existence of echo chambers, of actors seeking together to have their views reinforced with the assistance of like-minded actors. The researched party leaders have their own clusters of users they choose to communicate with, including some citizens. Thus, Twitter probably functions to maintain good relationships with, literarily, followers. As, pointed out by Davis (2010), online politics of this type may encourage a trend where “tightly linked, cross-referencing and self-regarding” networks alienate others (p. 113). Viewed differently, however, the Twitter exchanges could also be seen as serving as inter-group honing of political arguments before taking part in the wider political discussion. Twitter is, after all, just one of several public spheres where politics is discussed.

Thanks to my department, the paper will be made available open access through the SAGE Choice program. Until then, the preprint version can be accessed at or ResearchGate.

Three new publications

Skärmavbild 2014-02-25 kl. 17.00.41

The past few weeks have brought with them good news in terms of publications. Specifically, three papers that I have been involved have been accepted for publication in three different journals. First of all, together with Jakob Svensson, I have written a research review outlining some possible ways forward for scholars interested in the online activities of politicians. Entitled Politicians Online – Identifying Current Research Opportunities, the paper has been accepted for publication in First Monday, an open access journal. While waiting for it to get published on the First Monday web site, the paper can be accessed in its pre-print version here. The abstract reads as follows:

For more than a decade, researchers have shown interest in how politicians make use of the Internet for a variety of purposes. Based on critical assessments of previous online political communication scholarship, this paper identifies a series of overlooked areas of research that should be of interest for researchers concerned with how politicians make use of online technologies. Specifically, three such research opportunities are introduced. First, we suggest that research should attempt to move beyond dichotomization, such as conceiving of the Internet as either bringing about revolutionary changes or having a normalizing effect. Second, while there is a considerable body of knowledge regarding the activity of politicians during election campaigns, relatively little is known about the day-to-day communicative uses of the Internet at the hands of politicians. The third section argues that as political communication research has typically focused on national or international levels of study, scholars within the field should also make efforts to contribute to our knowledge of online practices at the hands of politicians at regional and local levels – something we label as studies at the micro level. In synthesizing the literature available regarding the use of the Internet at the hands of politicians, the paper concludes suggesting routes ahead for interested scholars.

Building on the second suggestion outlined in the abstract above, the second paper (co-authored with Bente Kalsnes) is titled “Of course we are on Facebook” – Use and Non-Use of Social Media among Swedish and Norwegian Politicians and deals with the adoption and continued use of social media by politicians in the two specified countries. The abstract provides a bit more detail:

While plenty of research has provided important insights into the uses of the Internet by politicians during elections, a relatively scarce amount of work has looked into these uses outside of such parliamentary events. This paper seeks to remedy this lack of research by presenting a study on the ‘routine’ uses of two of the currently most popular social media services – Facebook and Twitter. Focusing on politicians elected to the national parliaments of Norway and Sweden,the paper employs novel methodologies for data collection and statistical analyses in order to provide an overarching, structural view of the day-to-day social media practices of Scandinavian politicians. Findings indicate that use levels are rather low for both services – the median amount of tweets sent and messages posted on Facebook is close to one per day. Further analyses reveal that the most active politicians could be labeled as ‘underdogs’, as they are more likely to be younger, in opposition and out of the political limelight.

The study has been accepted for publication in European Journal of Communication, and while this is not an open access journal, I am working on making this paper (as well as a previous paper of mine already published in that journal) available by means of the SAGE Choice option. Stay tuned. In the mean time, two blog posts have featured some of the findings from the paper (12), and the accepted version of the paper can be accessed here.

Finally, the third paper to recently be accepted is entitled Everyday Elites, Citizens or Extremists? Assessing the Use and Users of Non-Election Political Hashtags and will be featured in a forthcoming issue of MedieKultur. The abstract is featured below:

As research has indicated that what is sometimes described as traditional forms of political-parliamentary participation are dwindling in most western democracies, the role of the Internet has often been pointed to as harboring the means to hinder these developments. While empiricalstudies on these matters have at best provided mixed results, social media services, like Twitter,has yet again fanned the flames of the most enthusiastic debaters. This paper moves beyond the often-studied context of parliamentary elections and instead offers a structural study of everyday political discussions 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 citizens, the influence of established as well as political extremist actors is also clearly discerned.

The accepted version of the paper is available here. While the focus of this particular paper goes somewhat beyond the parliamentary context that I normally study, I feel that it is important to look also outside of the supposed orderly fashion of government to see how services like Twitter are being used for political expression. The key, I guess, is to study both contexts. But where to find the time?

New publications – free access (for a while…)

Skärmavbild 2013-03-22 kl. 23.43.04

Plenty of time has passed since my last post here. I have been keeping busy – leaving my native Sweden and taking up a three-year position as a postdoctoral fellow at the university of Oslo, preceded by functioning as a guest researcher at that same institution. Meanwhile, I’m pleased to announce that a few research papers I’ve recently been involved in have been accepted for publication in various outlets. Some of the publishers involved agree for me to disseminate a certain amount of free pdf:s of these papers through their “e-prints” systems. As such, if any of the following catches your interest, drop me a line and I can probably set you up – at least until the imposed limit of free pdf:s is reached.

To begin with, a solo effort on my behalf, “Staying in or going out? Assessing the linking practices of Swedish online newspapers”, will be published in Journalism Practice sometime later this year. While the title hopefully gives away the theme of the paper, the abstract should provide more information for those of you who might be interested:

As journalism has moved from offline to online, a multitude of studies have gauged how media practitioners have employed the features made available by the internet. One such area of study has been the uses of hyperlinks. This study attempts to move beyond the technological or descriptive accounts often found when dealing with how journalists use links, by presenting an analysis of what aspects pertaining to newspaper website operation appear to have influence over journalistic use of different types of hyperlinks. The focus is placed on Sweden, a country which could be seen as a “hotbed” for innovative practices, given its consistently high scores for newspaper readership and internet use. Specifically, statistical analyses are employed on 3869 links gathered from Swedish online newspapers across a six-month period. Results indicate that while few external links are used, reaching outside the online realm of the specific newspaper, these particular links are almost exclusively found embedded in the journalistic text. Links leading to internal sources are more abundant, especially in the automatically generated thematically based sidebars often found in conjunction with online news items. Results also indicate slight differences regarding linking practices between tabloids and broadsheets, and between news of different origin. In closing, the paper suggests that while linking practices have certainly evolved during the short history of online journalism, we are mostly seeing what could be labeled an automated approach to employing hyperlinks.

Moreover, my ongoing collaborations with Hallvard Moe at the University of Bergen has seen two recent publications. First, “Untangling a Complex Media System. A Comparative Study of Twitter Linking Practices during Three Scandinavian Election Campaigns” builds on data collected for more straighforward Political Communication research. For this paper, though, we look at what sources Twitter users link to when discussing politics with each other. The paper is scheduled for publication in Information, Communication & Society, and the abstract reads as follows:

This article provides empirical insights into how one online service – Twitter – was used for political purposes during three separate election campaigns in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, specifically how Twitter users, with hyperlinks, connect with other channels for political communication. Methodologically, the study employs three large sets of data on Twitter use tagged as relevant for each of the election campaigns, covering a one-month period. The approach allows for an untangling of the complex interconnections between novel online services, mainstream media, official political party websites, public information, individual blogs and social network sites. By moving beyond a study merely of the type of websites linked to, to also include classification of the actors publishing the content linked to, the article provides insights into the actual use by politicians, interest groups as well as grassroots activists of diverse Web genres.

Second, in another co-authored effort, our analysis of Twitter use during the 2011 Danish national election was recently accepted for publication by the editors of Javnost – The Public. While the paper is methodologically reminiscent of our previous work on Twitter use during elections, we try here to provide more of a theoretical framework for interpretation of our results. The paper is not yet available online, but the abstract reads accordingly:

The uses of the popular microblogging service Twitter for political purposes have been discussed by scholars and political pundits alike. While suggestions have been made that the conversational aspects of the microblog could serve to instigate online deliberation between equals, rather few studies have investigated such claims empirically. This paper presents such an empirical study, based on a large-scale data set of tweets concerning the 2011 Danish parliamentary election. By combining state-of-the-art data collection and analysis techniques with theoretically informed matters for discussion, we provide an assessment of political Twitter activity among high-end users of the microblog during a one-month period leading up to the election. Identifying a series of user types, findings indicate that while the bulk of the studied activity bares characteristics of a representative public sphere, traces of a participatory public sphere were also discerned.


Relocated to Oslo

Summer is winding down, and I am now relocated to Oslo, where I’ll be a guest researcher at the Department of Media and Communication for the coming months. Moreover, a new publication based on my collaborations with Hallvard Moe just came out in Nordicom Review – ” Methodological and ethical challenges with large-scale analyses of online political communication“. It discusses some of the problems we’ve had to deal with during our research on Twitter use during Scandinavian election campaigns. Best of all, it’s free – avialable as a pdf here. Hope you enjoy reading it, and please get in touch if you have any questions or suggestions.


Two new publications

During the last couple of weeks, two papers I’ve written have been accepted for publication in two journals that I have followed since my start in academia. While it is satisfactory in itself to have your work accepted in journals that you’ve followed for some time, I am extra happy with these particular publications since they are both based in large parts on my PhD dissertation. As such, both papers take structuration theory [1, 2] (as developed by, in turn, Anthony Giddens and Wanda Orlikowski) as their starting points. The first of the two papers, Understanding non-use of interactivity in online newspapers – Insights from Structuration theory (to be published in The Information Society) discusses how the recursive relationship between macro and micro levels of society outlined in the theory can be employed in order to further understand what one of the reviewers of the paper called “the disappointments of online journalism” – why most readers and journalists do not tend to use interactive features in the online newspaper context. By using terminology derived from the work of Giddens and Orlikowski, the paper provides an overview of research done on audience-journalist interaction and suggests some ways forward for researchers and practitioners.

Similarly, the second paper, ‘Rejected bits of program code’ – Why notions of “politics 2.0” remain (mostly) unfulfilled (to be published in Journal of Information Technology & Politics), takes the same theoretical starting point but places its focus on the supposed potential of the Internet to rejuvenate political participation among the broader citizenry. While hopes regarding such a potential have generally been held high (especially now, in the “2.0” era), most empirical research on the matter has provided results indicating passivity in voters and somewhat cautious attitudes on behalf of politicians. As with the former paper, conceptual tools derived from structuration theory are used in order to explain why these somewhat conservative behaviors are apparent.

plans for the first half of 2012

My paper on the uses of interactive features on Swedish newspaper web sites has been published online at Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies. This was the first paper I wrote as part of my PhD work, and so it is especially satisfying to see it published. Otherwise, I’m gearing up for a spring semester full of travel, research, teaching and music. Here’s what I know so far:

That’s it, I think. More important, perhaps, is the fact that I’ll probably be defending my PhD thesis come may or june of this year. It’ll all become clearer during the next couple of weeks.

New publication – Nordicom Review

Waking up this morning, I was greeted with great news – a paper on ethical and methodological issues I co-wrote with Hallvard Moe had been accepted for publication in Nordicom Review. The paper, entitled Methodological and ethical challenges with large-scale analyses of online political communication, emanates from our ongoing project on political Twitter use in the Scandinavian region. This publication marks a nice opportunity for us to provide other interested researchers with some insights into the issues we continuously face when doing research on social media and sets of “big data”. A pre-print version of the paper is available here.