‘Coherent clusters’ or ‘fuzzy zones’ – Understanding attention and structure in online political participation

Anders Olof Larsson


Social media and their uses are in an almost constant flux, and the need for comparative approaches — across platforms and time points — appears as urgent. The study at hand presents a dual comparative approach looking into political communication as undertaken on social media. Presenting data from Twitter and Instagram use during the 2013 and 2017 Norwegian elections, the study traces developmental tendencies and suggests terminology with which to assess the ways that these activities are undertaken on the studied platforms. Results indicate that while Twitter and Instagram activity was rather differently fashioned in terms of structure and attention in 2013, these activities had grown more similar — focused on political elites rather than a broader range of users — in 2017. As such, the study argues for a normalized view of online political participation, wherein professionalized political actors appear to increasingly orchestrate the studied activities.


Media and Communication studies; Political Communication; Digital Media

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v24i8.9863

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