Agenda-setting in a social media age
Exploring new methodological approaches
This paper analyzes the role of social media in electoral processes and contemporary political life. We analyze Costa Rica’s 2018 presidential election from an agenda-setting perspective, studying the media, the political and the public agendas, and their relationships. We explore whether social media, Facebook specifically, can convey an agenda-setting effect; if social media public agenda differs from the traditional MIP public agenda; and what agenda-setting methodologies can benefit from new approaches in the social media context. The study revealed that social media agendas are complex and dynamic and, in this case, did not present an agenda-setting effect. We not only found that the social media public agenda does not correlate with the conventional MIP public agenda, but that neither does the media online agenda and the media’s agenda on Facebook. Our exploration of more contemporary methods like big data, social network analysis (SNA), and social media mining point to them as necessary complements to the traditional methodological proposal of agenda-setting theory which have become insufficient to explain the current media environment.
Keywords: agenda Setting, elections, Facebook, Latin America, social media, social network analysis
Published online: 03 March 2021
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