The social media logic of political interaction: Exploring citizens’ and politicians’ relationship on Facebook and Twitter

  • Bente Kalsnes Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo
  • Anders Olof Larsson Westerdals
  • Gunn Sara Enli Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo
Keywords: Social media logic, Facebook, Twitter, politics, interaction, affordances

Abstract

This paper examines citizens’ interactions with politicians in social media in what is referred to as an everyday context, unmediated by news media. Through a representative survey, we compare the influence of a series of socio-demographical variables such as political interest, age, gender and education on the interaction levels between citizens and politicians. The article argues that the social media logic can be operationalized into “connected affordances”: Redistribution, Interacting and Acknowledging — which are the three types of user practices on Facebook and Twitter. The study finds that Facebook is a service where “ordinary” people engage in political interaction with politicians — and receive replies from politicians — while Twitter is mostly used by just a small group of the population for these purposes. Hence, the popularity of Facebook could be seen as allowing for new connections between citizens and politicians without news media as mediators. Our results suggest that the stronger the political interest the citizens express, the more connective affordances are utilized — such as commenting and sharing. Political interest also impacts what response citizens receive from political actors in social media.

Author Biography

Bente Kalsnes, Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo

Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Oslo.

Published
2017-01-22
How to Cite
Kalsnes, B., Larsson, A. O., & Enli, G. S. (2017). The social media logic of political interaction: Exploring citizens’ and politicians’ relationship on Facebook and Twitter. First Monday, 22(2). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v22i2.6348