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Event versus Issue: Twitter Reflections of Major News, A Case Study

Communication and Information Technologies Annual

ISBN: 978-1-78441-454-2, eISBN: 978-1-78441-453-5

Publication date: 30 January 2015


An issue and event were tracked for 90 days on Twitter, cable television, and large newspapers. The mortgage and housing crisis was an ongoing issue, and the BP oil spill was an ongoing event. As expected, the results suggest media as a predictor of Twitter for the two issue agendas studied. However, this study shows that the agenda-setting effects on Twitter are not equal in regard to issues and events. The agenda-setting effect of the media appeared to be stronger for the issue observed here. Moreover, initial evidence is provided that agendas for the ongoing events were more volatile than ongoing issues. For ongoing events, it appears that agendas are most reflective of the real-world cues that initiate them. This suggests that when real-world cues are largely absent, the media are less salient, and the agenda is more stable and ongoing. Finally, increased temporality appears to better reveal agenda-setting effects for events. Relaxed temporal measures appear to reveal the agenda-setting effect of ongoing issues more effectively. Events are not all equal; neither are issues. As such, the media and Twitter behave differently. This distinction has not yet been made in the literature.



Vargo, C.J., Basilaia, E. and Shaw, D.L. (2015), "Event versus Issue: Twitter Reflections of Major News, A Case Study", Communication and Information Technologies Annual (Studies in Media and Communications, Vol. 9), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 215-239.



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