Volume 17, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


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.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Ceron, Andrea
    2016 “Competing Principals 2.0? The impact of Facebook in the 2013 selection of the Italian Head of State.” Italian Political Science Review46(3): 313–333. doi: 10.1017/ipo.2016.14
    https://doi.org/10.1017/ipo.2016.14 [Google Scholar]
  2. 2017a “Intra-party politics in 140 characters.” Party Politics23(1): 7–17. doi: 10.1177/1354068816654325
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1354068816654325 [Google Scholar]
  3. 2017bSocial Media and Political Accountability: Bridging the Gap between Citizens and Politicians. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1007/978‑3‑319‑52627‑0
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-52627-0 [Google Scholar]
  4. Ceron, Andrea , Luigi Curini , and Stefano Iacus
    2016 “iSA: a fast, scalable and accurate algorithm for sentiment analysis of social media content.” Information Sciences367–368: 105–124. doi: 10.1016/j.ins.2016.05.052
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ins.2016.05.052 [Google Scholar]
  5. Chadwick, Andrew , and Jennifer Stromer-Galley
    2016 “Digital Media, Power, and Democracy in Parties and Election Campaigns: Party Decline or Party Renewal?” International Journal of Press/Politics21(3): 283–293. doi: 10.1177/1940161216646731
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1940161216646731 [Google Scholar]
  6. Fraustino, Julia D. , and Liang Ma
    2015 “CDC’s Use of Social Media and Humor in a Risk Campaign – “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse”.” Journal of Applied Communication Research43(2): 222–241. doi: 10.1080/00909882.2015.1019544
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00909882.2015.1019544 [Google Scholar]
  7. Gibson, Rachel K.
    2015 “Party Change, Social Media and the Rise of ‘Citizen-Initiated’ Campaigning.” Party Politics21(2): 183–197. doi: 10.1177/1354068812472575
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1354068812472575 [Google Scholar]
  8. Graham, Todd , Dan Jackson , and Marcel Broersma
    2016 “New platform, old habits? Candidates’ use of Twitter during the 2010 British and Dutch general election campaigns.” New Media & Society18(5): 765–783. doi: 10.1177/1461444814546728
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444814546728 [Google Scholar]
  9. Hoffmann, Marc , Mathieu Rosenbaum , and Nakahiro Yoshida
    2013 “Estimation of the lead – lag parameter from non-synchronous data.” Bernoulli19(2): 426–461. doi: 10.3150/11‑BEJ407
    https://doi.org/10.3150/11-BEJ407 [Google Scholar]
  10. Howard, Philip N.
    2005New Media Campaigns and the Managed Citizen. New York: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511615986
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511615986 [Google Scholar]
  11. Karlsson, Martin , and Joachim Åström
    2016 “The political blog space: A new arena for political representation?” New Media & Society18(3): 465–483. doi: 10.1177/1461444814543990
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444814543990 [Google Scholar]
  12. Larsson, Anders O.
    2013 ““Rejected bits of program code”: Why notions of “Politics 2.0” remain (mostly) unfulfilled.” Journal of Information Technology and Politics10(1): 72–85. doi: 10.1080/19331681.2012.719727
    https://doi.org/10.1080/19331681.2012.719727 [Google Scholar]
  13. Larsson, Anders O. , and Øyvind Ihlen
    2015 “Birds of a feather flock together? Party leaders on Twitter during the 2013 Norwegian elections.” European Journal of Communication30(6): 666–681. doi: 10.1177/0267323115595525
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0267323115595525 [Google Scholar]
  14. Margetts, Helen
    2006 “Cyber Parties.” InHandbook of Party Politicsed by Richard Katz and William Crotty , 528–535. London: Sage. doi: 10.4135/9781848608047.n46
    https://doi.org/10.4135/9781848608047.n46 [Google Scholar]
  15. Mosca, Lorenzo , Cristian Vaccari , and Augusto Valeriani
    2015 “An Internet-Fuelled Party? The Five Star Movement and the Web.” InBeppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement: Organisation, Communication and Ideologyed by Filippo Tronconi , 127–152. Farnham: Ashgate.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Neuman, Russell W. , Lauren Guggenheim , S. Mo Jang , and Soo Young Bae
    2014 “The dynamics of public attention: Agenda-setting theory meets big data.” Journal of Communication64(2): 194–214. doi: 10.1111/jcom.12088
    https://doi.org/10.1111/jcom.12088 [Google Scholar]
  17. Niederdeppe, Jeff , Kathryn Heley , and Colleen Barry
    2015 “Inoculation and Narrative Strategies in Competitive Framing of Three Health Policy Issues.” Journal of Communication65(5): 838–862. doi: 10.1111/jcom.12162
    https://doi.org/10.1111/jcom.12162 [Google Scholar]
  18. Scarrow, Susan E.
    2015Beyond Party Members: Changing Approaches to Partisan Mobilization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Suler, John
    2004 “The online disinhibition effect.” CyberPsychology and Behavior7(3): 321–326. doi: 10.1089/1094931041291295
    https://doi.org/10.1089/1094931041291295 [Google Scholar]
  20. Tromble, Rebekah
    2016 “Thanks for (actually) responding! How citizen demand shapes politicians’ interactive practices on Twitter.” New Media & Society. doi: 10.1177/1461444816669158
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444816669158 [Google Scholar]
  21. Vaccari, Cristian , and Augusto Valeriani
    2015 “Follow the leader! Direct and indirect flows of political communication during the 2013 Italian general election campaign.” New Media and Society17(7): 1025–1042. doi: 10.1177/1461444813511038
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444813511038 [Google Scholar]
  22. 2016 “Party Campaigners or Citizen Campaigners? How Social Media Deepen and Broaden Party-Related Engagement.” International Journal of Press/Politics21(3): 294–312. doi: 10.1177/1940161216642152
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1940161216642152 [Google Scholar]
  23. Vergeer, Maurice , Liesbeth Hermans , and Steven Sam
    2013 “Online social networks and micro-blogging in political campaigning: the exploration of a new campaign tool and a new campaign style.” Party Politics19(3): 477–501. doi: 10.1177/1354068811407580
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1354068811407580 [Google Scholar]
  24. Wright, Scott
    2012 “Politics as Usual? Revolution, Normalization and a New Agenda for Online Deliberation.” New Media & Society14(2): 244–261. doi: 10.1177/1461444811410679
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444811410679 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error