This study seeks to discover whether the existence of Web 2.0 applications introduced a more interactive approach to British parties and candidates’ use of the Internet during the 2009 European Parliament elections.
Research data were based on content analysis of the web sites of British candidates and parties during the 2009 European Parliament elections. The conceptual framework assesses whether there is evidence of a monologic versus dialogic approach, and normalisation versus equalisation between parties.
The paper finds that parties were not using Web 2.0 as a strategic device. The party list system meant that parties were twice as likely as candidates to use Web 2.0 applications and, overall, there is weak evidence of a third way of ebb and flow. Continuing the experience of previous elections there is evidence of a predominantly monologic approach; however, the debate is no longer simply between normalisation versus equalisation, a more sophisticated approach suggests a third way, where political campaigning has been altered. While the overall levels of interactivity and dialogue are not high, there is some evidence of the development of a Web 1.5 sphere offering more interaction, but within a controlled environment. This study notes that ideology is a factor, where it is the right wing parties which are most likely to adopt interactivity.
Previous literature on elections in general, and the European Parliament elections specifically, suggest that in the UK the Internet is primarily used for monologic communication and supporting the normalisation thesis. This study suggests, within an era of Web 2.0, a slight refinement to this interpretation.
Jackson, N. and Lilleker, D. (2010), "Tentative steps towards interaction: The use of the Internet in the British European Parliament Election 2009", Internet Research, Vol. 20 No. 5, pp. 527-544. https://doi.org/10.1108/10662241011084103Download as .RIS
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