‘When we were making ethnographic observations, we noticed that the candidates also commented on each other’s posts a lot, but there is little knowledge about the structure of such conversations between candidates in the social media,’ says Matti Nelimarkka, Researcher at the Aalto University Department of Computer Science and Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT.
‘Something that really stood out was the way the candidates kept sniping at their rivals. Candidates were as if in a virtual name-calling competition that reminds you of the rap battles in hip hop,’ says Salla-Maaria Laaksonen, who conducts research on the online public space at the University of Helsinki.
‘A dialogue between candidates of different parties often followed when the criticised candidate started to defend himself or herself. Often, the messages also travelled from one media to another. For example, the conversation about a topic that had been brought up in a blog, in a news article, on television, in advertising or in a separate event was continued in the social media,’ continues Nelimarkka.
A continuous election panel
‘Perhaps it was easier for candidates to ignore a question raised by a voter than a message from a rival accusing them of something. However, these verbal battles in which candidates have a go at each other are one proof of how social media changes campaigning for elections: online arenas form a large continuous election panel in which candidates try to beat rivalling candidates and opinions,’ says Laaksonen.
‘The next areas of application in combining big data and ethnography could be commercial. For example, brand building or media events could combine both an ethnographic and a computational perspective, in which case we would not be trying to attract just clicks or reading the occasional message,’ Nelimarkka says in the end.
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Last updated on 2 Feb 2017 by Matti Nelimarkka - Page created on 2 Feb 2017 by Matti Nelimarkka