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Changes in Election Communication on Social Media – The Perspectives of Personalization, Media Logic, and Polarization

This research project examines the changes in election communication on social media in connection with the Finnish parliamentary elections. The focus is on the communication of political parties and their leaders on four different platforms (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok ja X/Twitter).

Background

The importance of social media in Finnish political communication and election campaigning has grown significantly. This can be seen in the ways that all political actors––politicians, parties, media, and citizens––use different platforms and participate in political communication on them. The project is a continuation of “Personalization of Politics in Hybrid Media––The Finnish Parliamentary Elections 2019” research project, which examined how the attention is focused on politicians at the expense of parties and issues.

Goal

The aim of the project is to examine how pre-election communication on social media has changed from the 2019 Finnish parliamentary elections to the 2023 elections. The focus is on the communication of political parties and their leaders during the election campaigns in these two elections.

The changes in communication are examined from three different perspectives. First, we investigate a possible change in the personalization of politics. Second, we examine political communication between different social media platforms and the changes in their use from the perspective of media logic. Third, we examine the occurrence of polarization in election communication, as polarization has become a central subject of discussion and research, especially after 2019. The change and development of these phenomena can be examined by analyzing the data from 2019 and 2023. Quantitative and qualitative content analysis are used as research methods.

Impact

From a social point of view, the study of digital contents is important, because nowadays they have a significant influence on the formation of opinions. This research project produces new knowledge about personalization specifically from the point of view of its process-like nature. Examining the social media accounts of parties and their leaders helps to better understand how political actors implement their own campaign communication. The project also produces important knowledge about media logic and polarization in political communication in the Finnish context.

Funding source

The research project is funded by C. V. Åkerlund Media Foundation.

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