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9th triplehelix: Web visibility on political innovation system


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This study examines whether the network characteristics represented on the Internet drive or reflect other events and occurrences in the offline environment. More specifically, the purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between the web visibility network of Korea’s National Assembly members and the amount of financial donations they receive from the public. The results of the linear correlation analysis indicate a positive direction, suggesting that politicians who occupy a central position in the web visibility network are more likely receive financial donations than those occupying a peripheral position. The QAP correlation results reveal a significant correlation between politicians’ web visibility network and their political finance network. This study identifies the structural power relationship between Korean politicians’ online and offline networks.

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9th triplehelix: Web visibility on political innovation system

  1. 1. Identifying Web Visibility Issues on Political Innovation System<br />A Case Study of South Korea’s National Assembly Members<br />Yon Soo Lim&Han Woo Park <br />WCU WebometricsInstitutute<br />Yeungnam University<br /><br />
  2. 2. Introduction<br />Network society describes the aspects of modern society as an interrelated social structure that is derived from the mediatized communication relationships specifically via the Internet. <br />
  3. 3. Introduction<br />Webometricsis broadly defined as the study of web-based content (e.g., text, images, audio-visual objects, and hyperlinks) with primarily quantitative indicators for social science research goals and visualization techniques derived from information science and social network analysis.<br />
  4. 4. Introduction<br />Although current political communication studies examine the social influence of the Internet on politics, majority ignores structural (networked) properties. <br />This study examines the structural relationships between online and offline political power on the basis of network characteristics. <br />
  5. 5. 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 />
  6. 6. Web Visibility<br />Web visibility as an indicator of online political power<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 />Recent studies indicates the positive relationships between politicians’ web visibility level and election. <br />Also, the co-occurrence web visibility between two politicians represents their hidden online political relationships based on the public perception. <br />
  7. 7. Political Finance<br />The power of money<br />Traditionally, the level of political finance has been regarded as a crucial indicator of political power. <br />Public support<br />Political activities (i.e. campaigning) resource<br />Although the relationship between political finance and election is ambiguous, the money power is still considered an indicator of offline political power. <br />
  8. 8. Research Objective<br />The purpose of this study is to investigate the structural relationship between the co-occurrence web visibility network of Korean National Assembly Members and the dyadic difference network of their political finance received from the public.<br />It will provide a comparison between online and offline political structures in South Korea as well as a theoretical argument on the political role of Internet. <br />
  9. 9. Method<br />Data<br />Subject:<br />18th Korean National Assembly members elected in April 2008.<br />278 members were examined (January 26, 2010). <br />Data<br />2008 Political Finance data from Korean National Election Commission (<br />Demographic attributes: gender & age<br />Political attributes: consecutive incumbent, constituency, committee, & party affiliation<br />Gathered from National Assembly’s official site ( and the politicians’ homepages. <br />
  10. 10. Method<br />Data gathering for web visibility (co-occurrence)<br />A popular Korean-language based search engines<br /> &<br />API-based programs by WWI<br />Search query:<br />Politician A’s name ANDB’s name AND “의원 (National Assembly member)”<br />Collected across different web platforms including blog, image, news, and website. <br />Search date:April 1, 2008 –December 31, 2009<br />
  11. 11. Analysis<br />Correlation &path analysis<br />Identify the relationships among political finance, web centrality, (eigenvector) and vote<br />Quadratic assignment procedure (QAP) correlation<br />Identify the structural relationships between political finance and web co-occurrence<br />Additionally, other dyadic difference networks based on politicians’ attributes (gender, age, consecutive incumbent, party affiliation, constituency, and committee) were considered<br />
  12. 12. Results – Correlation & Path Analysis<br />Correlation<br />Spearman Correlation<br />Political finance’s indirect effect = .076<br />Note. * p<.05, ** p<.01<br />Note. ** p<.01<br />
  13. 13. Results–Web Visibility (co-occurrence)<br />
  14. 14. Results – QAP Correlation<br />Note. * p<.05, ** p<.01<br />
  15. 15. Findings<br />Pearson correlation&path analysis:<br />A positive direction, indicating that politicians with a central position of the web visibility network receive more financial donation than those with a peripheral position.<br />Online power is significantly related to the number of votes, but offline power is not. <br />However, the indirect impact of political finance on election can be assumed. <br />
  16. 16. Findings<br />QAP correlation<br />A significant relationship between web visibility and political finance networks.<br />The more the web visibility between politicians, the less the gap of their financial amount.<br />Web visibility and political finance networks are significantly related to most socio-political attribute networks (except gender network). <br />
  17. 17. Discussion<br />This study systematically examined the structural relationships between online (web visibility) and offline (political finance) political power networks. <br />The results reveals that online and offline power structures are significantly correlated to each other. <br />This study supports the normalization argument that the Internet is a replication of the real world rather than the equalization perspective that the Internet will reform the offline hierarchical structure of individual politicians.<br />
  18. 18. Limitations and Future Studies<br />Future studies should consider more comprehensive networks (e.g. public donation network, online supporters network, etc.). <br />Future studies should employ a longitudinal approach considering the network changes over time.<br />Future studies should consider a mixed approach between qualitative and quantitative on the web visibility measure.<br />
  19. 19. Thank you for your attention.<br />