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Twitter rises in Australia’s political ranks

July 16, 2013

Press Release submitted by Jennifer Germano

Tweets and Facebook updates from politicians and the general public are increasingly finding their way into mainstream political reporting, leading Australian media researchers say.

A new study shows that mainstream media no longer view social media as a threat, with more reporters using people’s tweets or Facebook posts as sources or supporting evidence for their stories.

“Mainstream media see social media as an increasingly valid and crucial way for politicians, journalists and the public to communicate,” says Associate Professor Axel Bruns of the CCI at Queensland University of Technology.

“Social media are not new or special anymore – they no longer are the story, but have become key tools for telling the story.”

In the report “Social Media in the Media”, CCI researchers Theresa Sauter and Axel Bruns studied articles that discussed the use of social media in Australian politics. They sampled stories from Australian newspapers in the years 2008, 2010, and 2012.

The study reveals a three-fold increase in the number of articles that refer to the use of social media in Australian politics from 2008 to 2010, and a five-fold increase from 2008 to 2012. Read the rest of the press release at WhaTech.

At the same time, the number of articles that compare traditional media to social media has decreased significantly. Reporters now presume that readers know what social media are, and refer to ‘Twitter’, ‘YouTube’, and ‘Facebook’ without further explanation of how they are used.

“Reporters have also changed what they write about politicians using social media,” Dr Sauter says. “Articles used to emphasise the negatives, such as politicians ‘doing it wrong’ when using Twitter, but that’s no longer the case now. Between 20 and 35 per cent of articles cite politicians’ social media accounts, and tweets are often reused without comment.

“This indicates that social media have been accepted as a common way for politicians to communicate. In the eyes of reporters, politicians can no longer gain kudos for using social media – it is simply expected that they do.”

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One Comment
  1. It’s a natural evolution, but I find the extreme use bile taints the arena.

    The numbers of rusted on supports (left and right) also intrigues me.

    I like to remain neutral, but on our way to the election we should all consider, “On the international stage, do you want Abbott or Rudd speaking on Australia’s behalf ??”

    Which one projects the best “statesman” like image ?

    Which one is the most “professional”?

    And as you prepare to fill out your ballot slip, ask yourself, “Would I buy a used car from this person?”

    Cheers

    Mick http://cartoonmick.wordpress.com/editorial-political/

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