Maurice Vergeer, Liesbeth
Hermans, and Steven Sams, "Online social networks and
micro-blogging in political campaigning: The exploration of
a new campaign tool and a new campaign style," Party
Politics, 19 (May 2013), 477-501. [Available at
Over the past two decades the growing adoption of the
Internet by political actors, and its influence on election
campaigning, has been the subject of numerous studies (e.g.
Kampitaki et al., 2008). Although there is still a lively
debate about whether e-campaigning replicates the patterns
of offline campaigning or contributes to a fundamental
change in the democratic discourse, there is little doubt
that the Internet is increasingly important as a tool for
political parties and candidates to provide information and
stimulate political engagement. In general it seems that
political parties and politicians see the benefits of the
communicative potential offered by the Internet, but it has
yet to be seen whether all the new possibilities offered by
the Internet (such as exchange of information and opinions
in discussion formats such as weblogs and social networking
sites [SNSs]) will result in changing trends in
- Figures and
- Table 1. Different type of political campaigns.
- Table 2. Candidates per political party (expressed in
absolute numbers and as Twitter adopters).
- Figure 1. Mean number of daily tweets by party.
- Table 3. Daily micro-blogging activity on Twitter by
- Figure 2. Degree of blogging activity during the
- Figure 3. Online network sizes and political
- Figure 4. Size of second degree network size and
ratio with first degree network size.
- Table 4. Relations between types of networks.
- Table 5. Associations between net characteristics and
This type of study should also be conducted to test its
actual effectiveness on data from other elections,
especially focusing on how Twitter might improve public
perception of parties and candidates and, as a consequence,
could mobilize people to vote for that particular candidate.
Still, these analyses are on the European Parliamentary
elections in the Netherlands and might not be
'representative' for other EP elections in 2009 across
Europe. On one hand, if these findings are representative,
they are an indication of things to come in other election
campaigns across Europe, since the Netherlands is an early
adopter of Twitter. If this case is not representative, and
there are reasons to think so (e.g. different electoral and
party systems, varying degrees of Internet adoption), it
provides opportunities for cross-national comparative
research on the use of social media as campaign tools in