Social Media in the UK Election Campaigns 2008–2014

Experimentation, Innovation, and Convergence

Authored by: Darren G. Lilleker , Nigel Jackson , Karolina Koc-Michalska

The Routledge Companion to Social Media and Politics

Print publication date:  December  2015
Online publication date:  December  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138860766
eBook ISBN: 9781315716299
Adobe ISBN: 9781317506560


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Digital and social media platforms and applications have been placed at the heart of debates around political communication for at least the last two decades. The cyberoptimist perspective that technology would be democratising gave way to more pessimistic views. Pessimism was validated by empirical findings which largely demonstrated that access to resources and popularity in the real world was mirrored in online environments and that there were few indications that online political communication attracted a wider or different audience than, say, specialist television documentaries (Ward et al., 2003). Cyberoptimists were proven inaccurate in their predictions because the Internet is a pull medium, with users selecting what they wish to see, and users sought personal gratifications when seeking content. Given that politics is only of interest to a minority, few political websites gain hits and only prominent media outlets and political celebrities gain significant attention.

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