Increasingly, political actors have to act in online communication environments. There they meet overlapping networked publics with different levels of participatory cultures and varying expectations of participation in the (re)making and co-production of political content. This challenges political actors used to a top-down approach to communication. Meanwhile, online users are increasingly politically involved as legislatures all over the world become more active in regulating communication environments online. These new political actors often share participatory practices and have high levels of new media skills. Now they are challenged to adapt these bottom-up participatory cultures to the traditional political environment. This paper examines these adaption processes by examining three examples from the campaign for the German federal election of 2009. These examples include the attempt of Germany's conservative party (CDU) to encourage their supporters to adapt participatory practices, the German Social Democrats' (SPD) top-down production and distribution of online content that mimicked the look and feel of user-generated content, and the bottom-up emergence of political flash mobs.
Mit der Nutzung von Social Media gehorchen öffentliche Verwaltungen
dem Zeitgeist. Außerdem bieten sich Behörden durch den Einsatz sozialer
Netzwerke viele neue Möglichkeiten. Die Angebote fordern jedoch Zeit,
Lernbereitschaft und eventuell Anpassungen der Struktur der Kommunikationsarbeit.
The German election year 2009 saw the first attempts by political parties to include Web 2.0 services in their online campaigns. The 2009 election therefore offers the opportunity to examine how political parties outside the USA – where online campaigning has become commonplace – choose to use online tools in their campaigns. This paper examines the online campaign of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) with a special focus on the campaign's use of Web 2.0 services. The different elements of the campaign will be discussed with regard to three basic functions of online campaigning provided by the relevant literature: 1) presence in the online information space; 2) support of the infrastructure of politics; 3) creation of symbols for political support and participation. This paper shows that these functions were all present in the CDU's use of online tools in the campaign of 2009
Die Wahlkampf-Kampagne Barack Obamas von 2008 machte Twitter auch in Deutschland bekannt. Aber erst eine Kampagne gegen vermeintliche Internetzensur brachte die Veränderungen durch den Dienst auch hierzulande zum Vorschein: Politik wird zugänglicher und die Kommunikation schneller. Kann die Politik dem folgen?
As the microblogging service Twitter becomes an increasingly popular tool for politicians and general users to comment on and discuss politics, researchers increasingly turn to the relationship between tweets mentioning parties or candidates and their respective electoral fortunes. This paper offers a detailed analysis of Twitter messages posted during the run-up to the 2009 federal election in Germany and their relationship to the electoral fortunes of Germany’s parties and candidates. This analysis will focus on four metrics for measuring the attention on parties and candidates on Twitter and the relationship to their respective vote share. The metrics discussed here are: the total number of hashtags mentioning a given political party; the dynamics between explicitly positive or explicitly negative mentions of a given political party; the total number of hashtags mentioning one of the leading candidates, Angela Merkel (CDU) or Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD); and the total number of users who used hashtags mentioning a given party or candidate. The results will show that during the campaign of 2009 Twitter messages commenting on parties and candidates showed little, if any, systematic relationship with subsequent votes on election day. In the discussion of the results, I will raise a number of issues that researchers interested in predicting elections with Twitter will have to address to advance the state of the literature.