Political Communication on Social Media in the Run-Up to the 2013 German Federal Election

Research question/goal: 

This interdisciplinary project addresses political communication on social media in the run-up to the 2013 German federal election. Utilizing social media data, including data from Twitter and Facebook, the project tackles questions at three analytical levels. At the micro-level, it examines whether political predispositions shape individual-level online behaviour and whether their effect increases over the course of the campaign. At the meso level, the analysis explores the hypothesis that online communication networks with a focus on election-related topics become larger as well as more fragmented as a campaign wears on. At the macro level, the project explores the relationship between online communication and offline events—whether online communication serves as some kind of indicator of offline events, and whether social media communication is powerful in predicting election results. In substantive terms, the project aims at a better understanding of the processes underlying communication on social media. In methodological terms, it seeks to improve the methods of online research.

Current stage: 

Following data collection, the project has focused on examining the dynamics of Twitter conversations about politics. Research questions concern the partisan slant of tweets as well as the relations between topics discussed on Twitter and the political problems on the media and public agenda. We presented results of our research at several international conferences and submitted manuscripts to international journals.

Fact sheet

Duration: 
2015 to 2020
Status: 
in preparation
Data Sources: 
social media data
Geographic Space: 
Germany

Publications