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Article
Publication date: 17 January 2023

Tal Samuel-Azran and Moran Yarchi

The study aims to examine the validity of the gender affinity effect on social media throughout election campaigns.

Abstract

Purpose

The study aims to examine the validity of the gender affinity effect on social media throughout election campaigns.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper examines the role of gender in political discourse, using citizens' conversations on Facebook in the days leading up to Israel's 2021 elections as its case study. The analysis measured the engagement generated by male and female politicians in citizens' publicly open Facebook discussions (N = 1875) using a trend-tracking software. The analysis uses t-tests to examine differences in engagement between conversations about male versus female politicians and between posts written by male versus female authors. In addition, a two-way ANOVA analysis was conducted in an attempt to understand the shared impact of both the politicians' gender and posts authors' gender on the posts' engagement.

Findings

The study reveals that although more posts discuss male politicians, posts dealing with female politicians expressed significantly more support towards those politicians. The analysis also highlights that women tend to write more supportive posts and that most of their posts deal with female politicians. Furthermore, interaction effect analysis revealed that women's posts about female politicians generate more engagement in terms of likes, comments and number of participants than posts written by women that deal with male politicians.

Practical implications

The findings should encourage women politicians to run their campaigns via social media.

Originality/value

The study presents the first social media analysis for gender affinity effect and highlights the importance of the effect in online political communication studies.

Peer review

The peer review history for this article is available at: https://publons.com/publon/10.1108/OIR-04-2022-0199

Details

Online Information Review, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 July 2020

Tal Samuel-Azran and Moran Yarchi

This study examines the impact of gender on Facebook campaign strategies and the reception of these strategies during the 2018 Israeli municipal elections.

Abstract

Purpose

This study examines the impact of gender on Facebook campaign strategies and the reception of these strategies during the 2018 Israeli municipal elections.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors analyzed all the messages posted on 48 politicians' official Facebook pages during the week leading up to the elections. They analyzed messages posted by 152 candidates running for the position of head of a municipality, 68 of whom were women (48 had an active Facebook account), examining the amount of engagement they had created. The authors also analyzed the candidates' use of rhetoric and use of negative campaigning and the engagement it created.

Findings

Analysis of the overall engagement of Facebook users in respect to men versus women politicians showed that men politicians' posts were significantly more engaging in terms of the number of likes and shares they generated, although the multilevel analysis found no significant differences between engagement in the posts of men and women politicians. The Aristotelian rhetoric analysis revealed no significant differences between women and men contenders; however, in line with the role incongruity theory, the engagement analysis found that male candidates' logic-based posts attracted significantly more shares. The negative campaigning analysis found that, contrary to the study’s hypothesis, female candidates posted twice as many messages, attacking their opponents as their men counterparts. However, in line with the hypothesis based on the role incongruity theory, these posts gained significantly less engagement than those of their men counterparts.

Originality/value

The study highlights that female candidates do not conform to their perceived gender role as soft, emotional, and gentle in their social media campaigning. However, in line with role incongruity theory, they were not rewarded for this “unwomanly” behavior because they gained significantly less engagement with their logic-based posts and their attacks against other candidates than their men counterparts. Despite the fact that prior studies have indicated the potential of social networks service (SNS) to empower women leaders, the findings of the study highlight the continued gender discrimination and the validity of role incongruity theory during social media campaigning, particularly at the municipal elections level.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 44 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 24 November 2022

Yair Galily, Tal Laor and Tal Samuel-Azran

Despite the ability of podcasts to bring free quality content to the masses, studies found that podcast consumption have been identified mostly with the elite class, thus…

Abstract

Purpose

Despite the ability of podcasts to bring free quality content to the masses, studies found that podcast consumption have been identified mostly with the elite class, thus increasing knowledge gaps and digital divides. This study aims to examine whether this trend extends to non-elitist podcast genres by providing the first analysis of sport podcast demographics and uses and gratifications.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was conducted among Israel’s three most popular sport podcast listeners (N = 503), examining the listeners’ demographics, consumption patterns and uses and gratifications driving them to listen to the podcast.

Findings

The analysis reveals that most listeners are secular millennials males with above average income, highlighting the elitist nature of sport podcast consumers. The analysis further revealed that information-rich groups were more likely to tune in for information acquisition whereas other groups used it more for entertainment and escapist purposes.

Practical implications

For policy makers and educators who wish to promote podcast-based initiatives to narrow social gaps, the analysis strengthens the notion that the podcast platform mostly attracts those who are already information rich and thus increase knowledge gaps and digital divides. For sport broadcasters, the analysis illuminates sport podcasts audiences’ demographics and their uses of the platform.

Social implications

The study reflects that the podcast platform is identified with elitist listening even in non-elitist genres; thus it further increases the already wide knowledge gap and digital divides promoted by the advent of the podcast platform.

Originality/value

The study is the first to highlight the elitist nature of sport podcast listeners’ demographics, indicating that the podcast platform increases the knowledge gap also even across non-elitist content genres such as sport content.

Peer review

The peer review history for this article is available at: https://publons.com/publon/10.1108/OIR-12-2021-0684

Details

Online Information Review, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 October 2016

Tsahi Hayat, Tal Samuel-Azran and Yair Galily

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to analyses of the sport-politics nexus by identifying whether the demographics of Twitter followers of Al-Jazeera Sport in the…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to analyses of the sport-politics nexus by identifying whether the demographics of Twitter followers of Al-Jazeera Sport in the USA (rebranded in 2014 as beIN USA) can be associated with a specific political orientation.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on selective exposure theory, which posits that people follow news sources that reinforce their existing views, the authors identify the news outlets followed by beIN Twitter followers. To put the findings in perspective, the authors compared the results to the news outlets followed by the Twitter followers of Al-Jazeera America, Al-Jazeera’s second US outlet. Next, to understand the nature of the beIN and Al-Jazeera America communities, the authors used social network analysis to analyze the distribution of retweets within these communities.

Findings

The analysis shows that whereas Al-Jazeera America Twitter followers follow significantly more liberal than conservative news outlets, beIN’s followers were not identified with a specific political orientation. Analysis of beIN’s followers’ retweets shows a greater degree of connectivity among beIN’s followers than among the followers of Al-Jazeera America, indicating a more connected social network.

Research limitations/implications

Findings indicate that beIN’s Twitter following is characterized by more diverse and more strongly connected audience than Al-Jazeera America on Twitter, highlighting sports as a non-politicized realm on Twitter.

Practical implications

For practitioners, the study illustrates that controversial non-western media networks such as Al-Jazeera can gain access to diverse populations in the West by operating in the sport realm rather than the news realm.

Originality/value

This study offers a pioneering indication of the extent of a sport-ethnocentrism nexus on Twitter.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 40 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 February 2019

Dana Markowitz-Elfassi, Moran Yarchi and Tal Samuel-Azran

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of politicians’ facial attractiveness on their online popularity as reflected in audience engagement with their Facebook…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of politicians’ facial attractiveness on their online popularity as reflected in audience engagement with their Facebook posts during the 2015 Israeli election campaign.

Design/methodology/approach

Using Israel’s 2015 election campaign as the case study, the authors analyzed all messages posted (n=501) on 33 politicians’ official Facebook pages during the week leading to Election Day.

Findings

The results demonstrate that audiences do engage more with posts of the more facially attractive politicians. These posts generated more shares, more comments and more participants in their discussions – but not more likes – relative to posts of less attractive politicians. These effects became even stronger when the posts were accompanied by one or more visual image, and remained significant even after controlling for other engagement predictors, such as a politician’s gender, seniority or the timing of a post’s publication.

Social implications

The findings emphasize the importance of attractive looks for politicians. The findings highlight that attractive politicians’ posts attract more attention, allowing them to better spread their ideas. Thus, politicians should aim to post aesthetic images and visuals to promote better engagement with their ideas on social media.

Originality/value

The study expands our understanding of online presentations of politicians, focusing on the effect of politicians’ facial attractiveness on their online popularity. Recent studies have demonstrated that physically attractive politicians enjoy more and better media attention on television news, but not in non-visual media such as radio and newspapers. This effect has not been examined in the social media environment, a central arena for today’s political debates and one that involves many visual messages.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 43 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 28 February 2019

Tal Samuel-Azran, Tal Laor and Dana Tal

Podcasts have become a main content delivery platform in the last decade. Since not enough studies examined the wider population adoption patterns of podcasts in general…

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Abstract

Purpose

Podcasts have become a main content delivery platform in the last decade. Since not enough studies examined the wider population adoption patterns of podcasts in general and outside the USA in particular, the purpose of this paper is to examine the socio-demographics of podcast listeners and the uses and gratifications fulfilled by listening to podcasts using Israel’s most popular podcast as our case study.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors uploaded a survey on the podcast platforms aiming to identify their socio-demographic profiles of listeners (n=960) and where they listen to the podcast. Next, the authors conducted follow-up interviews with 100 respondents to understand their main uses and gratifications fulfilled while listening to the podcast.

Findings

The findings of this survey indicate podcast listeners in Israel as mostly male, with self-reported high income, under the age of 45, highly educated and nearly half work in the high-tech sector. Follow-up interviews identified that the main uses and gratifications from listening to podcasts were cognitive – acquiring new knowledge, social – a desire to share new data with friends, entertainment, hobby and a way to assist falling asleep.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this study indicate that access to podcasts in Israel is utilized mostly by members of already advantaged and technology-oriented groups, thus potentially widening existing societal gaps.

Originality/value

The study examines the podcast adoption in a country whose podcast adoption patterns were not yet explored, thus contributes toward mapping of the global usage of podcasts. It portrays podcasts in Israel as a platform used mostly by members of privileged and technology-oriented groups, which is similar to findings regarding the demographics of podcast listeners in the USA. Some of the uses and gratifications are similar to that in the USA while others, such as the desire to share knowledge and efficient time management, are unique and reflect the impact of the local culture and conditions on podcast adoption.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 43 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 April 2015

Tal Samuel-Azran, Moran Yarchi and Gadi Wolfsfeld

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the mapping of the social media discourse involving politicians and their followers during election campaigns, the authors…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the mapping of the social media discourse involving politicians and their followers during election campaigns, the authors examined Israeli politicians’ Aristotelian rhetoric on Facebook and its reception during the 2013 elections campaign.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors examined the Aristotelian rhetorical strategies used by Israeli politicians on their Facebook walls during the 2013 elections, and their popularity with social media users.

Findings

Ethos was the most prevalent rhetorical strategy used. On the reception front, pathos-based appeals attracted the most likes. Finally, the results point to some discrepancy between politicians’ campaign messages and the rhetoric that actually gains social media users’ attention.

Research limitations/implications

The findings indicate that Israel’s multi-party political system encourages emphasis on candidates’ credibility (ethos) in contrast to the prevalence of emotion (pathos) in typical election campaigns in two-party systems like the USA. One possible explanation is the competitive nature of elections in a multi-party system where candidates need to emphasise their character and distinct leadership abilities.

Practical implications

Politicians and campaign managers are advised to attend to the potential discrepancy between politicians’ output and social media users’ preferences, and to the effectiveness of logos-based appeals.

Originality/value

The study highlights the possible effect of the party system on politicians’ online rhetoric in social media election campaigns.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 39 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 June 2021

Tal Laor

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…

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

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 46 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

Keywords

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