Tweeting the campaign:Evaluation of the Strategies performed by Spanish Political Parties            on Twitter for the 20...
Outline Background on the Spanish election           Historical overview           Spanish election system Goals and resea...
Historical overview                                                                                        Spanish Governm...
Spanish election systemElection process       Although the Spanish legislative system is bicameral:           Congress of ...
Spanish election systemEconomical budget and access to traditional media       The electoral law regulates:           thre...
Goals and research questions     Identify activity peaks in social media and examine the     reaction of political party m...
Data collection3M political tweets published by 380K users in Nov 4-24, 2011.                                             ...
Results: Evolution of the number of tweetsActivity on Twitter is strongly influenced by events in the offline world:      ...
Results: Evolution of the number of tweets   The peaks are consistent in the tweets posted by members of political parties...
Results: Evolution of the affective content                                                 Comparison of tweets by       ...
Results: Diffusion dynamics   Parties with traditional mass media coverage (PSOE,PP,CiU,ERC vs. UPyD,IU,EQUO)   generate m...
Results: Diffusion dynamics (retweets)                                           Members of political parties             ...
Results: Diffusion dynamics (retweets)                                    Social Network Analysis reveals:                ...
Results: Diffusion dynamics (retweets)  Parties and/or candidates are central elements in the diffusion dynamics          ...
Results: Communication dynamics (replies)The most intensive communicationflows occur between members of thesame party.    ...
Results: Communication dynamics (replies)     Again, EQUO, UPyD, and IU show the highest clustering coefficient           ...
Results: Communication dynamics (replies)        In most party replies networks, the candidate is the most central user. I...
Conclusions   The winning party already anticipated its victory in the affective content of its   tweets in the days prior...
Further research    Explore topological patterns of the party networks and    characterize the different party apparatus a...
Further research    Explore topological patterns of the party networks and    characterize the different party apparatus a...
Questions?     Thank you for your attention!                             21
References    Castells M, (2009). “Communication power”.    Oxford University Press.    De Ugarte D. (2007). “El poder de ...
Fundació Barcelona Media      Av. Diagonal, 177 | 08018 BarcelonaTel (+34) 93 238 14 00 | Fax (+34) 93 309 31 88          ...
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Tweeting the campaign: Evaluation of the Strategies performed by Spanish Political Parties on Twitter for the 2011 National Elections

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Social networks have become repositories of Big Data that can be mined and analyzed to gain insights into the activities and preferences of Internet users. The present research relies on a large dataset from Twitter to examine emotional content, activity patterns and interaction networks of political parties and politically active users during the campaign for the Spanish national elections of November 2011.

Our results show remarkable differences in political parties according to the diffusion and communication dynamics within the microblogging network. The study of the networks generated by the main parties allows us to identify different strategies depending on the characteristics of the analyzed parties in the offline word. Furthermore, we discuss the adaptation of the political structures of the parties to this new communication and organizational paradigm emerged from Internet and online social networks.

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Tweeting the campaign: Evaluation of the Strategies performed by Spanish Political Parties on Twitter for the 2011 National Elections

  1. 1. Tweeting the campaign:Evaluation of the Strategies performed by Spanish Political Parties on Twitter for the 2011 National Elections Pablo Aragón, Karolin Kappler, Andreas Kaltenbrunner, Jessica G. Neff, David Laniado, and Yana Volkovich Barcelona Media Foundation, Barcelona, Spain Internet, Politics, Policy 2012 Oxford, September 20, 2012
  2. 2. Outline Background on the Spanish election Historical overview Spanish election system Goals and research questions Data collection Results Evolution of the number of tweets Evolution of the affective content Diffusion dynamics Communication dynamics Conclusions and further research 2
  3. 3. Historical overview Spanish Government 1977-1982 UCD 1982-1996 PSOE 1996-2004 PP 2004-2011 PSOE 2011-now PPhttp://www.publico.es/especial/elecciones-generales/2011/resultados/historico.php Since 1982, PSOE and PP are the two major national parties alternating the Spanish Government. 3
  4. 4. Spanish election systemElection process Although the Spanish legislative system is bicameral: Congress of Deputies (effective power) Senate The Spanish Constitution states that “the law distributes the total number of deputies, assigning a minimum initial representation to each district and the remainder is distributed in proportion to the population”. Small national and new parties complain that the system favors: two major parties regional nationalist parties 4
  5. 5. Spanish election systemEconomical budget and access to traditional media The electoral law regulates: thresholds to private donations, prohibitions of donations from outside Spain, According to the results in the previous elections: grants for the campaign of each party, media coverage during the campaign. Some minor parties claimed lack of coverage during the campaign. 5
  6. 6. Goals and research questions Identify activity peaks in social media and examine the reaction of political party members to offline events. Analyze variations in the affective content expressed by political party members during the campaign. Are parties with low parliamentary representation forced into alternative digital strategies? “the process of formation and exercise of power relationships is decisively transformed in the new organizational and technological context derived from the rise of global digital networks of communication as the fundamental symbol-processing system of our time” (Castells, 2009). Is there a real and active debate among parties on Twitter? “a significant share of this form of mass self-communication is closer to electronic autism than to actual communication”? (Castells, 2009). 6
  7. 7. Data collection3M political tweets published by 380K users in Nov 4-24, 2011. Tweets selected if: containing a hashtag linked to the campaign (#20n, #elecciones20n, #votapsoe, #votapp, #15m, #nolesvotes, …) written by a user previously identified as a member of a political party. written by a user previously identified as an activist, journalist, radio/television program, mass media channel focused on the campaign. mentioning the political party/candidate profile of PSOE, PP, IU, UPyD, EQUO, CiU or ERC. National major parties: PSOE, PP (winner) National minor parties: IU, UPyD, EQUO 7 Nationalist parties: CiU, ERC
  8. 8. Results: Evolution of the number of tweetsActivity on Twitter is strongly influenced by events in the offline world: the election debate (>500k tweets) the closing day of campaign (>200k tweets) the election day (>400k tweets)Users actually showed less active during the election silence. Even in the unregulated spaceof Twitter, the reflection day was followed and generally accepted. National major parties: PSOE, PP (winner) National minor parties: IU, UPyD, EQUO 8 Nationalist parties: CiU, ERC
  9. 9. Results: Evolution of the number of tweets The peaks are consistent in the tweets posted by members of political parties. The parties participating in the debates and the ones with favorable electoral results acquire higher levels of activity in these peaks. National major parties: PSOE, PP (winner) National minor parties: IU, UPyD, EQUO 9 Nationalist parties: CiU, ERC
  10. 10. Results: Evolution of the affective content Comparison of tweets by PSOE and PP with the Spanish ANEW lexicon (Redondo et al., 2007) Highest values of valence/dominance of the winning party on the days prior to the Election Day. National major parties: PSOE, PP (winner) National minor parties: IU, UPyD, EQUO 10 Nationalist parties: CiU, ERC
  11. 11. Results: Diffusion dynamics Parties with traditional mass media coverage (PSOE,PP,CiU,ERC vs. UPyD,IU,EQUO) generate more content from the account of the candidate than from the partys official account. Most of these parties (PSOE,PP,CiU) opt for co-managing the account of the candidate with a professional team of communication. National major parties: PSOE, PP (winner) National minor parties: IU, UPyD, EQUO 11 Nationalist parties: CiU, ERC
  12. 12. Results: Diffusion dynamics (retweets) Members of political parties propagate, almost exclusively, contents coming from members of their own party. National major parties: PSOE, PP (winner) National minor parties: IU, UPyD, EQUO 12 Nationalist parties: CiU, ERC
  13. 13. Results: Diffusion dynamics (retweets) Social Network Analysis reveals: Parties with limited mass media coverage (EQUO and UPyD) generate more clustered networks with a bigger giant component => stronger community cohesion. Fragmentation occurs more intensively in coalition of parties (IU). The most cohesive parties generate network structures with the highest levels of nested k-cores. National major parties: PSOE, PP (winner) National minor parties: IU, UPyD, EQUO 13 Nationalist parties: CiU, ERC
  14. 14. Results: Diffusion dynamics (retweets) Parties and/or candidates are central elements in the diffusion dynamics over the election campaign (except for IU). National major parties: PSOE, PP (winner) National minor parties: IU, UPyD, EQUO 14 Nationalist parties: CiU, ERC
  15. 15. Results: Communication dynamics (replies)The most intensive communicationflows occur between members of thesame party. Considerable levels of communication among members of different parties: PP - PSOE IU - UPyD - EQUO ERC - CiU National major parties: PSOE, PP (winner) National minor parties: IU, UPyD, EQUO 15 Nationalist parties: CiU, ERC
  16. 16. Results: Communication dynamics (replies) Again, EQUO, UPyD, and IU show the highest clustering coefficient National major parties: PSOE, PP (winner) National minor parties: IU, UPyD, EQUO 16 Nationalist parties: CiU, ERC
  17. 17. Results: Communication dynamics (replies) In most party replies networks, the candidate is the most central user. Important presence of politicians in the top-users rather than corporate party accounts National major parties: PSOE, PP (winner) National minor parties: IU, UPyD, EQUO 17 Nationalist parties: CiU, ERC
  18. 18. Conclusions The winning party already anticipated its victory in the affective content of its tweets in the days prior to the election day. Almost no retweets between members of different political parties. Also conversations (replies) take place mostly among members of the same party. Minor and new parties, with limited access to traditional media, tend to be more clustered and better connected, which implies a more cohesive community. The candidate and/or party accounts are central elements in the diffusion dynamics. However, in communication dynamics only the candidates remain as central elements. Users prefers to interact with accounts that correspond to politicians rather than political corporate accounts 18
  19. 19. Further research Explore topological patterns of the party networks and characterize the different party apparatus as centralized, decentralized or distributed networks (De Ugarte, 2007). http://lasindias.org/el-poder-de-las-redes/ 19
  20. 20. Further research Explore topological patterns of the party networks and characterize the different party apparatus as centralized, decentralized or distributed networks (De Ugarte, 2007). Contrast the topological patterns of the party networks with the networks produced by recent citizens movements. 20
  21. 21. Questions? Thank you for your attention! 21
  22. 22. References Castells M, (2009). “Communication power”. Oxford University Press. De Ugarte D. (2007). “El poder de las redes”. Colección Biblioteca de las Indias. Redondo J., Fraga I., Padrón I., and Comesaña M. (2007). “The Spanish adaptation of ANEW (affective norms for English words)”. Behavior Research Methods, 39(3), 600-605. Psychonomic Society Publications. 22
  23. 23. Fundació Barcelona Media Av. Diagonal, 177 | 08018 BarcelonaTel (+34) 93 238 14 00 | Fax (+34) 93 309 31 88 www.barcelonamedia.org

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