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Political familiarity vs. journalism background: insights from three Israeli prime ministers on social media

Gal Yavetz (Department of Information Science, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 14 May 2024

43

Abstract

Purpose

To explore a potential relationship between politicians’ media background and social media success through an analysis of content and engagement strategies adopted by three consecutive Israeli prime ministers on their official Facebook pages.

Design/methodology/approach

A detailed comparative content analysis of a total of 1,242 posts published by three Israeli prime ministers – Benjamin Netanyahu, Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett – on the same official Facebook account, “the Prime Minister of Israel,” during their respective terms. Metrics like engagement rates, content distribution and media type utilization were considered.

Findings

All analyzed prime ministers exhibited consistent messaging strategies, suggesting a standardized approach to digital political communication. However, we found no correlation between a politician’s media background and their success on social media. Instead, decisive determinants of engagement outcomes were factors like longstanding political exposure and familiarity.

Practical implications

The observed uniformity in leaders’ messaging strategies indicates a prevalent standardized approach in digital political communication, revealing potential avenues for innovation and diversification.

Originality/value

This research challenges the prevailing notion that background in media inherently benefits digital political engagement, emphasizing the significance of political experience. The results provide new insights into the evolving landscape of political communication. Using signaling theory to evaluate how digital content reveals leaders’ intentions and credibility, our findings provide new insights into political communication in the digital era.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Mr. Eran Druckman for his valuable statistical counseling and to the participants of the “Methodologies and Frameworks in Government Communication Research panel at ECPR 2023 for their insightful feedback on an earlier version of this paper.

Citation

Yavetz, G. (2024), "Political familiarity vs. journalism background: insights from three Israeli prime ministers on social media", Online Information Review, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-08-2023-0402

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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