Social media in campaigning – citizens and politicians in the 2010 Swedish election
(University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
ABSTRACT: Within the last few years, social media have emerged and offer network possibilities for political communication. There are large expectations of social media in campaigning and many politicians turned to such networks in the 2010 Swedish election. In spite of the high level of internet penetration and use in Sweden, people seem reluctant to go online for politics. Survey data collected in an e-panel was analyzed with a focus on social media to reveal to what extent internet users contact politicians, the information value of these channels and what users expect from politicians during campaigning. Even among frequent users such as the e-panel members, involvement in politics and politicians in social media is rather low. People tend to view social media as an information channel for politics rather than a conversation medium. Politicians should respond to questions if requested, but not assume the position of friends in peoples' networks.