German politicians and their Twitter networks in the Bundestag Election 2009

Thomas Plotkowiak, Katarina Stanoevska-Slabeva

Abstract


In this paper we present an analysis of 599 Twitter accounts of politicians, who for the first time became involved with social networking, becoming their own "reputational entrepreneurs" in social media (Fine, 1996) while running for an office the German Bundestag election in 2009. They did so by creating their own Twitter accounts, tweeting their own content and deciding whom to connect with. We were able to investigate how and with whom politicians established connections and which topics they discussed by tracking almost 20,000 connections of over 599 Twitter accounts, monitoring over 240,000 tweets over a period of three weeks. Our findings contribute to the open question whether the political social media ecosphere is fragmented or not, whether the structure of the social network influences communication flow and sentiment among members of the medium. The analysis of the network shows that the majority of connections were established between members of the same party while connections between different parties were significantly less represented. An analysis of the exchanged tweets demonstrated that the majority of discussions took place between members of the same party cluster and was more positive towards members of the same political party rather than towards members of other political parties.

Keywords


politics, networks, twitter

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v18i5.3816



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