Article published in:Re/constructing Politics Through Social & Online Media: Discourses, ideologies, and mediated political practices
Edited by Michał Krzyżanowski and Joshua A. Tucker
[Journal of Language and Politics 17:2] 2018
► pp. 241–257
A sentiment democracy?
When (and when not) politicians follow their Followers
Does the interaction with the opinions of ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ affect the behavior of politicians? So far, little attention has been devoted to the effect of social networking sites (SNS) on ‘hard politics’ choices. Focusing on two case studies related to Italian politics, namely the debate on the civil unions bill and the ‘Fertility Day’ crisis, in 2016, this paper tries to fill this gap assessing the influence of SNS on the behavior of politicians. For this purpose, supervised aggregated sentiment analysis and time series analysis are used to evaluate whether politicians surrender to the pressure put on them by their followers. The findings highlight some positive effects in terms of accountability/transparency, though in terms of responsiveness politics seems to continue as usual, and the road toward a full ‘sentiment democracy’ is still far ahead.
Keywords: Parliamentary votes, Government communication, Twitter, Facebook, Sentiment Analysis, e-democracy, responsiveness, accountability
Published online: 20 October 2017
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