Political parties and social media campaigning: A qualitative comparative analysis of parties' professional Facebook and Twitter use in the 2010 and 2012 Dutch elections
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SourceActa Politica, 54, 1, (2019), pp. 145-173
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR SOC
Politicologie t/m 2019
SubjectInstitute for Management Research; Inequality, cohesion and modernization; Ongelijkheid, cohesie en modernisering
Do new media level the playing field during election campaigns ('equalization') or do they mirror existing inequalities between parties (normalization)? Empirical studies come to contradictory findings. Part of the answer is in the timing: first social media level the playing field, afterwards bigger parties see the benefit and invest in it. Yet, this raises a new question: given that social media are cheap and easy to use, how can investing in them tip the balance? Based on a critical assessment of the literature and in-depth interviews, we advance a new theoretical framework to address both contradictions: the motivation-resource-based diffusion model. We link this model to the broader party and campaigning literature and formulate expectations, in terms of party size and ideology, about which parties use social media professionally. Afterwards, we conduct a crisp-set qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) of the Dutch parties (2010 and 2012 elections) to assess these expectations. We find that populism, postmaterialism, and party size matter but in different ways in the different phases of diffusion.
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