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.
contribution to scientific community
59. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft (DGPuK)