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Does Scotland 'like' this? Social media use by political parties and candidates in Scotland during the 2010 UK general election campaign

Baxter, Graeme; Marcella, Rita

Authors

Graeme Baxter



Abstract

This paper reports the results of a study which investigated the use of social media by political parties and candidates in Scotland as part of their campaign for election to the UK Parliament in 2010. The study consisted of an analysis of the content of the social media sites belonging to parties and candidates standing in the 59 Scottish constituencies. During the five-week campaign period preceding the election date of 6 May 2010, the content of 81 Twitter accounts, 78 Facebook pages and 44 blogs was analysed in order to identify the ways in which political actors provided information to, and interacted with, potential voters. While parties and candidates appeared relatively keen to be seen embracing social media, they were used primarily for the one-way flow of information to the electorate. There was little direct, two-way engagement, and a general reluctance to respond to 'difficult' policy questions or critical comments posted by the public. The information provided also frequently lacked any meaningful policy comment. The followers, 'friends' and 'likers' of these sites seemed to be largely family, friends and associates of the candidates, or party members and activists. Thus, the political actors appeared to be simply 'preaching to the converted' rather than providing opportunities for objective debate with the wider electorate.

Citation

BAXTER, G. and MARCELLA, R. 2012. Does Scotland 'like' this? Social media use by political parties and candidates in Scotland during the 2010 UK general election campaign. Libri [online], 62(2), pages 109-124. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1515/libri-2012-0008

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 19, 2012
Online Publication Date Jun 19, 2012
Publication Date Jun 30, 2012
Deposit Date Mar 19, 2014
Publicly Available Date Mar 19, 2014
Journal Libri
Print ISSN 0024-2667
Electronic ISSN 1865-8423
Publisher De Gruyter
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 62
Issue 2
Pages 109-124
DOI https://doi.org/10.1515/libri-2012-0008
Keywords Scotland; Social media; Political parties; Political candidates; Scotland politics and government; Elections
Public URL http://hdl.handle.net/10059/952

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