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Twitter as a clique: journalists' patterns of Twitter use in Israel

Tal Laor (School of Communication, Ariel University, Ariel, Israel)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 18 June 2021

Abstract

Purpose

Approximately 75% of journalists in Western society maintain a Twitter account. This significant presence underscores Twitter's impact on the public agenda. The purpose of this paper is to gain an understanding of journalists' practices on Twitter, from the perspective of journalists in Israel, and explore whether journalists use Twitter's potential as a pluralistic platform of expression.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted in-depth interviews with leading journalists working on traditional media and those active on Twitter in Israel.

Findings

Although Twitter is an open, inclusive platform for opinion exchange, in which journalists have a sense of unfettered freedom of expression, findings indicate that in Israel, Twitter effectively functions as an echo chamber used by a clique of journalists and politicians in a manner than reifies the hegemonic system. The majority of the public do not use Twitter to draw attention to contentious issues, and journalists almost exclusively continue to set and control the agenda on this platform. As a result, journalists become even more disconnected from society. Therefore, Twitter has been found to be a complementary platform to traditional media that helps to preserve the existing social order.

Social implications

This paper offers not only a theoretical contribution but also social relevance, as the topics and issues discussed in the paper might concern citizens and policymakers. This paper contributes to the debate on freedom of the press, which is an important principle of pluralism and democracy. This study illustrates that the general public's opinions remain unheard-of on Twitter. Therefore, despite its potential to express a variety of opinions and voices, Twitter does not undermine the existing social order, but it is one of the cultural frameworks that help preserve the existing social order and reinforce it through uniform conformity thinking.

Originality/value

The novelty of this research lies in its identification and analysis of the characteristics of the Twitter scene, its meanings and its implications from the perspective of journalists. In addition, this research investigates the relationships forged in the Twitter space between journalists and politicians and among journalists themselves.

Peer review

The peer review history for this article is available at: https://publons.com/publon/10.1108/OIR-07-2020-0324

Keywords

Citation

Laor, T. (2021), "Twitter as a clique: journalists' patterns of Twitter use in Israel", Online Information Review, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-07-2020-0324

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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