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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 http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol19/issue3/ ]

First paragraph:
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 political involvement.

Figures and Tables:
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 ideology.
Figure 2. Degree of blogging activity during the campaign
Figure 3. Online network sizes and political party.
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 blog behaviour

Last Paragraph:
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 elections.

Last updated November 2013