New publication out – this one took a little over a year from start to finish. The paper, which has been published online in New Media & Society, deals with the rise of populist parties in Europe and the ways in which such parties appear to dominate Facebook in terms of gaining traction on the specified platform – especially when using audio-visual means of communication. The abstract reads as follows:
“This article presents a longitudinal, structural study where party and citizen activity on Facebook is studied over a 10-year period, outlining the growing importance of audio-visual content for online campaigning purposes – as well as the rise of populist parties on the same platform. The study shows that an overall increased focus on video as a means of communication emerges as especially pertinent for native Facebook functionalities. This could have repercussions for how online political communication messages are fashioned – and also for the dependencies on platforms that are supposedly strengthened as parties make choices regarding where to invest their campaign resources. In terms of citizen engagement, the results indicate the dominance of populist parties, who have strengthened their positions on the studied platform. The dominance of populist actors will likely have repercussions for the algorithmic spread of political messages – as well as for the ways in which political messages are shaped.”
Accepted versions of the paper are available at academia.edu or ResearchGate, the publisher’s version can be found here – and if I have understood things correctly, a few free pdf copies should be available following this link.
I am back in Oslo after a few days in Ottawa where I presented some of my ongoing work (with lead author Shelley Boulianne) on social media use during the 2019 Canadian elections. The tweet embedded above shows during the Q & A portion of our presentation. This collaboration has so far resulted in a report which can be accessed here. Indeed, as this research deals with the Canadian context, the report is also available en français.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.