General Online Research 2011

March 14-16, 2011, Heinrich-Heine University of Düsseldorf


Conference Agenda

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Session Overview

C4: Social Media in Politics

Time: Tuesday, 15/Mar/2011: 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Session Chair: Jan Schmidt


Development of Municipal E-Government and E-Democracy: Testing the Usefulness and Limitations of Stage Models

Uwe Matzat, Gerrit Rooks

Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands, The

(a) Relevance & Research Question: E-government is a new way of government based on digital communication that is aimed to be more citizen-centric and efficient. Many authors assume that ICT based changes in government will improve democracy and regard e-democracy as the most advanced form of e-government. Even if there is some agreement in the literature that the adoption of ICTs within local municipalities should follow different stages in a linear order, the empirical evidence of the existence of stages is rather limited (Coursey & Norris 2008). Moreover, there is a lack of sound arguments justifying different stages. In extending the model by Layne and Lee (2001), the paper proposes a model on e-government development, distinguishing between four stages based on the underlying depth of communication between municipality and citizens: 1. information provision, 2. requests of permits and documents, 3. personal service delivery, 4. participatory e-democracy.

(b) Methods & Data: We utilize data on the adoption and development of e-government activities in 311 Dutch municipalities from 2004-2009, provided by a Dutch government agency based on its annual website research. Mokken scale analyses are used to test different versions of stage models on e-government development.

(c) Results: Analyses suggest that it is possible to represent e-government development as a linear path along the four stages on an aggregated level. Yet, a more detailed analysis on individual e-government features illustrates that the municipality stage model is only partly correct. In contrast to what stage models imply, it is shown that municipalities start adopting some e-government features from later stages, before the features from earlier stages have been completely adopted.

(d) Added Value: For the first time ever, we provide large scale evidence for the usefulness and limitations of stage models on e-government development. Only on the aggregated level the linearity assumption holds. However, for describing the development on the level of e-government features a single communication dimension is not enough. Additional dimensions, such as technological complexity are important as well. This finding undermines the value of all stage models that have no explicitly formulated model dimensions.

Matzat-Development of Municipal E-Government and E-Democracy-175.ppt

Social Media Potential in Forecasting Presidential Election Results in Poland 2010

Pawel Kuczma, Wlodzimierz Gogolek

University of Warsaw, Poland

(a) Relevance & Research Question:

The purpose of this study was to identify factors allowing prediction of outcome of presidential election in Poland in 2010 basing on data from Social Media websites in pre-election period.

The research problem was: Is it possible to predict the action (in this case cast a vote for a candidate in the presidential election) basing on content quantitative (number of content related to the subject of the research) and qualitative (the contexts in which they appear and their emotional values) analysis on Social Media?

(b) Methods & Data:

During the study there was analyzed content from Social Media websites (such as social networking sites, forums, blogs and microblogs) and for the purpose of comparison from websites with content written by professionals (information portals).

The study was conducted on the basis of the content published April 10th-July 5th 2010. There were examined the following indicators of content: the amount of content about a candidate, trends/dynamics of changes in the amount of content, qualitative assessment (the result of the analysis of the contexts in which the contents appeared on the presidential candidates, sentiment - distinction between positive and negative content).

(c) Results:

Social Media is extremely valuable source of information that reflects public opinion - including those relating to social and political phenomena, which is confirmed by this study. Although the working hypothesis concerning the possibility of predicting election results was not definitely proven - study helped to provide the names of candidates who qualified for the second round of the election. Moreover, it shows the importance of certain Web 2.0 forms in terms of providing information and the competitiveness of them to the traditional Internet resources.

(d) Added Value:

This research is a first step which allows starting creation of the method supporting the diagnosis of the condition and dynamics of changes of candidates/parties taking part in election. Therefore it can be used to influence democratic processes with Social Media.

Kuczma-Social Media Potential in Forecasting Presidential Election Results in Poland 2010-188.pdf

#EkitiElection: The Acts and Facts of Twittering the Final Judicial Proceedings in Nigeria

Presley Ifukor

University of Osnabrueck, Germany


In Ifukor (2010, 2011) the use of Twitter as a discursive practice in Nigerian electoral process has been presented. Microblogging is an avenue for real-time political deliberations between politicians and the citizenry (Lassen and Brown, 2010; Tumasjan et. al, 2010). Owing to irregularities, Nigerian courts overturned some of the 2007 general elections results and ordered re-runs. Such re-run gubernatorial elections were held in Ekiti State on April 25, 2009 and May 5, 2009 and a re-run senatorial election was held on August 15, 2009 also in Ekiti State. After several judicial rulings and appeals, the final definitive ruling on the gubernatorial election was delivered by the Federal Court of Appeal, Ilorin, Nigeria on October 15, 2010. The research questions this study seeks to answer are what Speech Acts Theory (SAT) can contribute to Twitter locution and how this promotes good governance ethics.


The data consist of 143 publicly accessible tweets harshtagged “EkitiElection” and collected by this author in the night of October 15, 2010 from http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23ekitielection

Ifukor (2011) proposes a taxonomy of political tweet acts with the enunciation of politico-pragmatic force of microblogging. SAT was initially developed by Austin (1962) and reformulated by Searle (1969, 1979). Therefore, using a customized tripartite heuristics of SAT, the textual pattern, discursive and sociocultural practices of the tweets are described, interpreted and explained accordingly.


The preliminary findings of the analysis (n = 145) show that there are 61 Assertives (42%), 41 Expressives (28%), 40 Declarations (28%) and 3 Directives (2%). The high occurrence of assertions is not surprising because of the 'journalistic' nature of the discourse. Sentiments of jubilation and social justice are predominant under the expressives category while the declarations are mainly the judge's reported speech.


Research on the use of Twitter in electoral discourse and for judicial correspondence is still little. This study not only buttresses the fact that social media can be used to explicate social justice, the precision of Twitter messages and the language of micro-correspondence show how communication is being structured for participatory democracy in virtual sphere.


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