Due to the significant rise in the use of social media in recent years, the purpose of this paper is to investigate who, how and why participates in creating content at political social networking websites utilising a content analysis of posts and comments published on Facebook during the 2015 general election campaign in Croatia. It shows consequences of a transition from traditional to social media campaigns and the effectiveness of social media at activating and moving public opinion during the general election campaign.
This study uses a data collection through a social media website, a classification of data set items by content attributes and a statistical analysis of the classified data.
Building on an empirical data set from Croatia, this study reveals that different political parties implement different election campaign strategies on social media to influence citizens who, consequently, respond differently to each of them. The results indicate that political messages with positive emotions evocate positive response from citizens, while neutral content is more likely to invoke negative comments and criticism, and support to the opponent. Another implication of the results is that two-way and tolerant communication of political actors increases citizen engagement, whereas unidirectional communication decreases it.
This paper provides an original insight into qualitative content analysis of posts and user comments published on Facebook during the 2015 general election campaign in Croatia.
Bagić Babac, M. and Podobnik, V. (2018), "What social media activities reveal about election results? The use of Facebook during the 2015 general election campaign in Croatia", Information Technology & People, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 327-347. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITP-08-2016-0200Download as .RIS
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