Tracking web visibility of Korean politicians


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Tracking web visibility of Korean politicians

  1. 1. Tracking web visibility of Korean politicians:<br />How and why congressional members appear on the web?<br />Yon Soo Lim,Han Woo Park,&Ting Wang <br />WCU WebometricsInstitutute<br />Yeungnam University<br />E-mail:<br />
  2. 2. Introduction<br />Internet as social media:<br />Interactive communication<br />Expansion of social networks<br />Diffusion and sharing of information<br />Online political campaigning is expected to promote close relationship between politicians and citizen. <br />Draw citizen’s attention to politicians or political events.<br />Mobilize citizen’s support and political engagement.<br />
  3. 3. Introduction<br />Previousstudies on Internet politics have tried to identify the effectiveness of online campaigning.<br />However, most studies have overlooked the existing political aspect of Internet media itself. <br />Specifically, it is unclear who is currently the center of public attention on the web, and why the political actor is the dominant position on the web. <br />
  4. 4. Research Objective<br />This study aims to identify the existing aspect of Korean political webosphere by tracking who is the most visible politicians on the web and investigating why the politicians is more visible than others. <br />Specifically, it focused on the web visibility of the 18th National Assembly members in South Korea and their socio-demographic attributes. <br />
  5. 5. Web Visibility<br />Web visibility<br />Presence or appearance of actors or issues being discussed by the public (Internet users) on the web. <br />Tracking web visibility is powerful way to get an insight into public reactions to actors or issues. <br />The limitations of previous web visibility research <br />Focus on academic or business contexts rather than politics.<br />Lack of the studies on the relationship between web visibility and inherent attributes from offline world.<br />Lack of the studies on non-English based webosphere.<br />
  6. 6. Theoretical argument<br />Political role of the Internet<br />Normalization perspective:<br />Internet may reflect the traditional power structure among individual politicians.<br />Equalization (Innovation) perspective:<br /> Internet may reform the offline hierarchical structure of individual politicians. <br />This study argues that the political effect of the Internet cannot be easily classified into one of the two models. Therefore, it does not take any particular position.<br />
  7. 7. Research Questions<br />Who are the most visible congressional members on Korean webosphere?<br />Are web visibilities of individual congressional members are different by their socio-demographic attributes?<br />
  8. 8. Method<br />Data<br />Subject:<br />18th Korean National Assembly members elected in April 2008.<br />285 of 292 members were examined.<br />7 members with irrelevant data were excluded. <br />Politicians’ attribute data<br />Demographic attributes: gender & age<br />Political attributes: parliament term, constituency, & party affiliation<br />Gathered from National Assembly’s official site ( and the politicians’ homepages. <br />
  9. 9. Method<br />
  10. 10. Method<br />Data gathering for measuring web visibility<br />A popular Korean-language based search engine, <br />WeboNaver, an API-based program by WWI<br />Search query:<br />The name of the politicians+“의원:National Assembly member”<br />Collected across different web platforms including blog, image, news, and website. <br />Search date:Dec. 30, 2009<br />
  11. 11. Analysis<br />Descriptive statistics<br />Identify the rank order of politicians’ web visibility<br />Correlation analysis (Pearson & Spearman)<br />Identify the relationships among the four types of web visibility indices (blog, news, image, & website)<br />Median test, Kruskal-Wallis test, & Mann-Whitney U test<br />Identify the relationships between politicians’ attributes and the levels of web visibility<br />
  12. 12. Results<br />
  13. 13. Results<br />
  14. 14. Results<br />Factor analysis for web visibility indices<br />Correlations among four indices: greater than .50 (p < .01)<br />Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (.85)<br />Bartlett’s test (χ2 = 1665.84, df = 6, p < .01) <br />One factor: 90.73% of the variance<br />Factor score coefficients: <br />blog .27; image .25; news .27; web site .26<br />With these factor weights, web visibility of each politician was calculated (M = 22,969.17; SD = 32,065.53). <br />
  15. 15. Results<br />
  16. 16. Results<br />
  17. 17. Results<br />
  18. 18. Results<br />
  19. 19. Results<br />
  20. 20. Results<br />
  21. 21. Results<br />
  22. 22. Discussion<br />This study measured the web visibility of South Korean National Assembly members using an API-based Naver search tool. <br />Also, it systematically examined the relationships between the levels of the web visibility and the socio-demographic attributes of the congressional members.<br />
  23. 23. Discussion<br />RQ1. Who are the most visible congressional members in the Korean webosphere?<br />The top 10 members are very popular politicians in Korea.<br />Geun-hye Park: 1) the chairperson of the Grand National Party from 2004 to 2006, 2)the fourth consecutive term, 3) a recent public opinion poll conducted by Korean Herald Business newspaper reported that Geun-hye Park is the most influential politician in South Korea (Shin, 2009, October 5). <br />The bottom 10 members have relatively lower popularity.<br />Newly elected members, proportional representation, elected from sparsely populated region. <br />
  24. 24. Discussion<br />RQ2. Are web visibilities of individual congressional members are different by their socio-demographic attributes? <br />Demographic attributes, such as gender and age, are not significantly associated with the levels of the web visibility.<br />However, political attributes, such as parliament term, constituency, and party affiliation, were significantly related. <br />Term: 3rd term and more > 2nd term > 1st term<br />Constituency: provincial regions = national capital regions > proportional representation <br />Opposition party members > ruling party members<br />
  25. 25. Discussion<br />Normalization vs. Equalization<br />Normalization perspective<br />The most visible politicians in the Korean webosphere have a highly qualified political career and eminence. <br />Their levels of the web visibility seem to reflect their offline power. <br />Equalization perspective<br />The web visibility ranks of the ruling party members who are an absolute majority in the National Assembly were significantly lower than those of the opposition party members.<br />The results seem to indicate the equalization effect that the Internet will play a major role in changing traditional political hierarchy.<br />
  26. 26. Discussion<br />However, the difference of the web visibility levels between the ruling party members and the opposition party members can be caused from a political career factor. <br />Thus, the difference in the party affiliation can be based on the offline power structure of individual politicians. At this point, the normalization approach may be better than the equalization approach to explain the party difference. <br />
  27. 27. Discussion<br />Overall, these findings suggest that the politicians who have political power and influence, based on their political career, in the offline world are more visible on the web. <br />It is likely that the traditional power structure is transferred to the online world. <br />While this study demonstrates a limitation of the equalization effect that the Internet will reform the offline hierarchical structure of individual politicians, it supports the normalization argument that the Internet is a replication of the real world. <br />
  28. 28. Limitations and Future Studies<br />Future studies should consider more comprehensive variables that can indicate the politicians’ inherent advantages in the offline world. (e.g. politician’s activities or their financial donations)<br />Future studies should provide a more detailed understanding of web visibility by considering the change over time.<br />Future studies should develop a mixed approach between qualitative and quantitative on the web visibility measure.<br />
  29. 29. Implication & Conclusion<br />This study as a case study of South Korea identified a significant relationship between web visibility and politicians’ inherent attributes. <br />The findings suggests that Korean webosphere is more likely to reflect and reproduce existing political power structure of individual politicians. <br />Also, this study provides us with ubiquitous presence in digitalized society. <br />
  30. 30. Thank you for your attention.<br />