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Tweets from the Campaign Trail

Researching Candidates’ Use of Twitter During the European Parliamentary Elections

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Edited By Alex Frame, Arnaud Mercier, Gilles Brachotte and Caja Thimm

Hailed by many as a game-changer in political communication, Twitter has made its way into election campaigns all around the world. The European Parliamentary elections, taking place simultaneously in 28 countries, give us a unique comparative vision of the way the tool is used by candidates in different national contexts. This volume is the fruit of a research project bringing together scholars from 6 countries, specialised in communication science, media studies, linguistics and computer science. It seeks to characterise the way Twitter was used during the 2014 European election campaign, providing insights into communication styles and strategies observed in different languages and outlining methodological solutions for collecting and analysing political tweets in an electoral context.

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List of Contributors

List of Contributors

Dr Elena Albu is a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship holder at the University of Geneva. She completed her PhD dissertation “The Pragmatics of Negative Structures in Political Discourse: A Relevance Theoretic Approach” in September 2012. She conducts empirical research into various aspects of language structure and her research interests are found at the interface between pragmatics, discourse analysis, corpus linguistics and computer-mediated communication.

Mario Anastasiadis, M.A. is research assistant at the University of Bonn/Germany, Department for Media Studies. His research interests are social media and political communication, media and popular culture, popular music in the media, extremism on the internet and qualitative methods (online and offline). In the research project Deliberation on the Net, which is part of the DFG priority programme Mediatized Worlds (funded by the German Science Foundation) he is dealing with questions of online media logics and media change within the framework of political discourses on Twitter. E-mail: anastasiadis@medienwissenschaft.uni-bonn.de, Twitter: @M_Anastasiadis

Ian Basaille-Gahitte is a PhD student in Computer Science at the the Electronics, Informatics and Image Laboratory (LE2I) UMR CNRS 6306, at the University of Burgundy (Dijon, France). He is also a research engineer at a French company, where he works on client relationship management and social media.

Fernando Bonete Vizcaino is PhD student and assistant professor at CEU San Pablo University (Madrid, Spain), where he graduated in Humanities and Journalism in 2013. He is also running his professional career as internal communication manager at CEU Educational Group, Spain’s main university corporation. He is a member of the INCIR TV (“Internet, Radio and Television Convergence”) research group, where he specialises in information and communications technology and media convergence. E-mail: fernando.bonetevizcaino@ceu.es

Dr Gilles Brachotte is associate professor in Communication Science at the University of Burgundy, member of the CIMEOS/3S research team (EA 4177) and teaches at the web design department of Dijon-Auxerre Technological Institute (IUT Dijon-Auxerre). After started his career as an IT / networks teacher, his research has taken him into the field of communication science and more specifically ICT usage. He focuses on the way ICT is used in practice and more generally on social change resulting from adoption and integration of ICT in society,←269 | 270→ notably among young people and in the political sphere. His research focuses on the discursive, social, ergonomic and technical dimensions which are sources of meaning and contribute to complexify the communication processes involved. E-mail: Gilles.brachotte@u-bourgogne.fr.

Dr Elena Cebrián Guinovart is a lecturer at CEU San Pablo University, in Madrid (Spain), where she teaches Communication and Information Theory. Her research interests include Political Infotainment, Political Communication in Social Media and Religion in the Media. Current research focuses on the implications of social media on political participation. She was a visiting researcher at Pontificia Università della Santa Croche (Rome, Italy) in 2007 and 2009. E-mail: ecebrian@ceu.es

Vittorio Cobianchi is researcher for Cares-Osservatorio di Pavia; his main areas of research interest are textual analysis and textual data mining, and social network data mining. He is adjunct professor at Università di Milano-Bicocca. Among other publications, he contributed to the writing of the books Lo spettacolo della politica. Protagonismo e servizio nel talk-show (The Show of Politics), Rai-Eri, Roma 1998, and Il caso Di Bella nella televisione e nella stampa italiana (The Di Bella affaire as portrayed by Italian media), Rai-Eri, Roma 1999. E-mail: vcobianchisservatorio.it.

Dr Dario Compagno is Assistant Professor at the New Sorbonne University in Paris, where he teaches Semiotics and Social Network Analysis to undergraduate Communication students. Graduated in Italy from the University of Bologna and the University of Siena, his research focuses on digital objects (websites, social media, computer games) and their meaning, from a semiotic perspective. He is a member of the MCPN (EA 1484 – CIM) and the CREM (EA 3476) research groups.

Dr. Jessica Einspänner-Pflock is research assistant at the University of Bonn/Germany, Department for Media Studies. She studied new media and communications in Bonn and Singapore, finishing her PhD in Bonn in 2015. Her research interests are social media and political communication, social interaction online, online privacy, public relations, digital methods. She is a member of the DFG priority programme Mediatized Worlds, where she deals with questions of online media logics and media change within the framework of political discourses on Twitter. E-mail: jep@uni-bonn.de, Twitter: @einpflock

Dr Alex Frame is associate professor in Communication Science at the Languages and Communication Faculty of the University of Burgundy (Dijon, France), where he runs the MA course in Intercultural Management. Born in Britain, he←270 | 271→ graduated from the University of Oxford in 1998, before settling in France and completing his PhD in Communication Science at the University of Burgundy, in 2008. He is a member of the TIL (“Texte, Image, Langage”) research group (EA 4182), where he specialises in intercultural communication and comparative cross-cultural communication studies. He led the TEE2014 research project. E-mail: alexander.frame@u-bourgogne.fr.

Dr Thierry Grison received a Ph.D in 1994 in Computer Science. He is associate professor in Computer Science at the University of Burgundy, and member of the Electronics, Informatics and Image Laboratory (LE2I) UMR CNRS 6306. His research focuses on information systems, databases and data sciences.

Frédéric Junger is a PhD candidate at the University of Burgundy (Dijon, France). His thesis focuses on the staging of political personalities and more broadly on the ways in which political representation is reconfigured by the interactions that take place on digital social networks.

Dr Sergey Kirgizov is a lecturer in Computer Science at the Science and Technology Faculty of the University of Burgundy (Dijon, France). Born in Russia, he graduated from the Altai State University, before settling in France and completing his PhD in Computer Science at the Pierre and Marie Curie University (University of Paris VI), in 2014. In Paris he studied the Internet topology dynamics from network (graph) theoretical and statistical points of view. Now, he is a member of the team SISI of the research laboratory LE2I (UMR CNRS 6306), where he applies the complex networks methods in order to analyse analyse massive amounts of rich connected data.

Tatiana Kondrashova M.A. is PhD student in Communication Science at the Languages and Communication Faculty of the University of Burgundy (Dijon, France). Born in Saint-Petersburg, she graduated firstly as M.A. in linguistics and language teaching from the Herzen State University of Saint-Petersburg, and then received her M.A. in Communication Studies at the University of Burgundy. She is a member of the CIMEOS research group (EA 4177), where she works on political discourse on Twitter through contrastive and semiotic analysis. E-mail: tatiana.kondrashova@u-bourgogne.fr.

Dr Eric Leclercq received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Burgundy in 2000. Since 2000, he has been Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Burgundy, France, and member of the Electronics, Informatics and Image Laboratory (LE2I) UMR CNRS 6306. His research focuses←271 | 272→ on semantics aware data integration, semantic annotations, data models for complex networks and large scale data analytics.

Arnaud Mercier (PhD) is professor of information and communication science, at the University Panthéon-Assas (Paris), member of the CARISM research centre. Since 2014, he has been running a research program funded by the French National Research Agency, entitled, “Flow of information through social media”. The purpose of this project is to study the upstream journalistic writing practices and innovative forms of action and self-presentation of editors and journalists on social networks, as well as new social practices and behaviors of Internet users, made of reappropriation, comments and (re) circulated information, via social networks & media.

Dr Maria Francesca Murru is a lecturer in Sociology of Media and Communication at the Università Cattolica di Milano, Faculty of Political and Social Sciences. Her research interests are focused on online public spheres and mediated civic participation and she is currently engaged in research projects dealing with mediated civic literacy and emergent publics. She has published in the field of media and audience research. E-mail: maria.murru@unicatt.it

Dr Nanta Novello Paglianti is associate professor in Communication Sciences at the University of Burgundy/Franche-Comte, France. She teaches semiotics and communication science. She is a member of the CIMEOS research group (EA 4177), where she specialises in mass-media communication and digital communication tools. E-mail: nanta.novello-paglianti@u-bourgogne.fr

Dr Marinette Savonnet received a Ph.D in computer science in 1996. She is associate professor in Computer Science at the University of Burgundy, and member of the Electronics, Informatics and Image Laboratory (LE2I) UMR CNRS 6306. Her research focuses on scientific information systems, semantic annotations and data models for large-scale data analytics. She is involved in several contractualized research projects, often in interdisciplinary collaborations.

Tamara Vázquez Barrio is Lecturer in Public Opinion at San Pablo CEU University (Spain). She holds a master`s degree in audio-visual production from the Complutense University of Madrid, and a further MA in needs and rights of children and youths from the Autonomous University of Madrid. She also holds a degree expert in design and statistical treatment of market research from UNED. Her research interest includes political communication, with a special attention to digital politics and politainment, and on the effects of the mass media in childhood and young people. In the latter field her particular←272 | 273→ interests are digital literacy, parental mediation and social responsibility of the mass media.

Caja Thimm, PhD, is a professor of “Media Studies and Intermediality” at the University of Bonn and head of the Institute for Language, Media and Music. She studied in Heidelberg, San Francisco and Berkeley and held positions at the Universities of Saarbrücken, Essen, and Darmstadt. She was visiting professor at UC Santa Barbara (USA), and at the Universities of Wales/Cardiff and Liverpool, (UK), and Dijon (France). She served as a member of various Enquete-Commissions, such as “Responsibility in the medatized world” and currently heads a German Foundation project on “Deliberaton online”. Her main research interests are on digital cultures, social media, and political and organizational communication online. E-mail: thimm@uni-bonn.de; Twitter: @CThimm.

Dr Marina Villa is researcher in Sociology of Communication and Cultural processes at Università Cattolica of Milan/Brescia, where she teaches Theory and techniques of information. She completed her PhD in Sociology at Milan and Nanterre University (co-director: J. Mouchon). She worked in the Italian Audiovisual Regulatory Authority (AGCOM) and she collaborated with the Political Communication Observatories in Perugia and Torino. She is member of the Scientific Committee of Cares-Observatory of Communication in Pavia. Her research interests and publications are focused on political communication, journalism and public communication. E-mail: marina.villa@unicatt.it←273 | 274→