Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
  • Publication
    Participatory Media for Participatory Politics? : Comparing Politicians' Social Media Use in Switzerland and Germany
    Recently, a number of studies have addressed antecedents of politicians' social media use, such as incumbency status, party size or composition of the electorate. Rarely have these findings been based on a comparative analysis of political systems, though. Our study focusses on one element of the political system, in particular: the effect of direct democracy, i.e., the availability of popular initiatives and referendums, on parliamentarians' social media use. Based on a survey of members of the national parliaments of Germany and Switzerland, it explores the effect of direct democracy on politicians' social media use. In order to control for constituency size, members of German state parliaments are included in the comparison. Accordingly, administrative units are differentiated based on past experience with popular initiatives and referendums. Our analysis reveals significantly lower levels of social media use among Swiss politicians compared to their German counterparts. Within Germany, politicians on the national level report higher levels of social media use, while past experience with direct democracy does not differentiate social media use on the state level.
  • Publication
    The Impact of Boundary Management Strategies on Politicians' Social M edia Use
    (ICA International Communication Association, 2014-05-25) ;
    Social media have found avid use among today's politicians. These platforms provide some specific opportunities to political professionals, such as personalized communication directed at specific communities of interest. At the same time, the "nonymous" nature of social media communication is associated with some challenges, too. Users need to carefully consider which audiences to address and how to target their communication efforts vis-à-vis distinct user groups. Professional communicators, particularly, need to manage the boundaries between professional and private online self-representations. Based on impression management theory, we differentiate four types of boundary management strategies in social media. We conduct a survey among German members of parliament and analyze the prevalence of all four strategies, then test for effects of distinct boundary management strategies on social media use practices. We find that considering boundary management strategies helps provide a better understanding of how politicians chose to employ social media.
  • Publication
    The Impact of Use Motives on Politicians' Social Media Adoption
    (International Communication Association, 2013-06-19) ; ;
    Social media are believed to contribute to a more participatory political environment by providing access to online conversations and by facilitating connections between like-minded individuals. Still, politicians seem slow in actually adopting social media into their communication efforts. Based on a survey conducted among politicians active on the federal level in Switzerland, we explore motives of social media use and their impact on social media adoption. We are able to differentiate three use motives which contribute to distinct use patterns. Based on a model of social media acceptance, we find that use motives do in fact impact social media adoption. We conclude that politicians with more use experience and a clearer grasp of the specific benefits of social media choose a more active, strategic and professional approach to social media communication.
  • Publication
    Between Usefulness and Ease of Use : Social Media Acceptance among Swiss Parliamentarians
    For many years, the Internet has been heralded as a boon to citizen participation in political decision-making (White, 1997). Research has been quick to explore whether new technologies facilitate direct participation and create access for non-elite citizens (Stromer-Galley, 2000; Davis, 1999; Hacker, 1996). In fact, Internet use has repeatedly been found to be positively associated with political and civic participation (Moy et al., 2005; Boulianne, 2009). The emergence of social media has further energized the hope that the Web will boost political participation. Recent studies confirm that social media use positively impacts civic and political partici-pation (Towner & Dulio, 2011; Zhang et al., 2009; Vitak et al, 2011). An emerging stream of research analyzes the use of social media in political communication and campaigning (Bichard, 2006; Williamson, 2011; Towner & Dulio, 2011). These studies find an increasing use of social media, starting early in the new millennium, spreading from blogs to a wide range of platforms like wikis, social bookmarking, social networking and content sharing sites. In fact, integrating social media in political campaigns has largely become "business as usual" (Williamson, 2011, p. 60). Little research has been directed at the drivers of social media acceptance by politicians, though: what elements contribute to the use of social media in political communication, what factors stand in its way? Methodology and Results In late 2010, Switzerland held elections for both chambers of the national parliament, the "Nationalrat" and "Ständerat". In mid-2011, our research team conducted an online-survey, inviting all 246 members of parliament by e-mail. A questionnaire had been prepared in the three national languages (German, French and Italian), addressing the frequency and intensity of the participants' social media use and reasons for use. Furthermore, key drivers of social media acceptance were investigated, based on the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM3) as proposed by Venkatesh and Bala (2008). This model posits that the acceptance of specific technological applications (including intention to or actual use) is driven by the perceived usefulness and the perceived ease of use of the application (Davis 1989; Davis & Venkatesh, 1996). A total of 117 parliamentarians filled out the questionnaire (response rate of 48%). A first analysis of the data found significant differences between active users and non-users of social media. Aside from current behavioral patterns and intentions, these groups differ in their playfulness, i.e. their approach to the use of new technologies. Accordingly, those who actively engage in social media rate the perceived enjoyment of their use significantly higher. A closer look at the drivers of social media acceptance reveals that perceived useful-ness and (to a lesser degree) perceived ease of use strongly impact social media use. All of the drivers included in our model exhibit significant explanatory power when analyzing for perceived usefulness and ease of use. Among the drivers of perceived usefulness, output quality and job relevance most clearly characterize user perceptions. Among the drivers of perceived ease of use, anxiety and perceived enjoyment exhibit the strongest discriminatory power.