Academic journal article Journal of Media Research

Social Media in Romania: Left Wing or Right Wing? the Case of the 2009 Presidential Campaign: Blogs and Facebook

Academic journal article Journal of Media Research

Social Media in Romania: Left Wing or Right Wing? the Case of the 2009 Presidential Campaign: Blogs and Facebook

Article excerpt

Abstract.

Facebook was first used by the political candidates in a presidential campaign in Romania in 2009. Social media and web 2.0 changed the way people were interacting, so the politicians had to adapt their communication to these social changes. Politicians reacted mechanically to the fact that in the past years more and more Romanians started to use social media. The aim of the article is to explain how the Romanian politicians acted in response to what happened in the online communication: did the left wing or the right wing candidates use social media to convey electoral messages? Did the left wing or the right wing radicals communicate using social media? To analyze the political speech, the content analysis method was applied on the posts in the electoral campaign on the personal blogs and on the official Facebook accounts of the candidates. This study answers the question on whether the Romanian left wing or right wing adapted its communication faster to the online environment during 2009 presidential campaign.

Keywords: social media, new media, political communication.

Introduction

With its YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, the internet after 2000 year is a much different internet than the one in the '90s. Politicians also reacted to these communication changes: candidates upgraded from the "display" type of website to the blog and Facebook account.

While the internet of the '90s meant Web 1.0 (World Wide Web) and implied "websites, URL addresses, domains" (Gutu, 2007, 18-19), after year 2000 the online environment produced major mutations in how the internet users communicated with each other. Web 2.0 (World Live Web) meant second generation Internet services, offering the user unlimited possibilities for communication and social interaction. Tim O'Reilly defined the Web 2.0 concept as "the revolution of the businesses in the computers industry caused by the transformation of internet into a platform whose rules are intelligible, ensuring the success of this platform" (Flew, 2008: 17).

Web 2.0 era assumes the existence of a user-friendly interactive interface and includes social networking services. "Web 2.0 allowed the traditional audience to transform into an active audience" (Gutu, 2007: 105-106). Internet content is generated by the users, who have turned into online information producers.

"The audience becomes its own media producer" (Balaban, 2009: 161-162). The Internet offers the audience the possibility "to pass from the simple receiver status to the communicator status". Media behavior is nowadays consumer (user) generated content, meaning the information sent by bloggers through internet does not have to pass through gatekeepers, as it was the case of the information that had become news in traditional media (Balaban, 2009).

Once internet access increased, more and more people used social media to share and create online texts, images, videos, messages about their own personal and professional life. In December 2009 there were 7.430.000 Internet users in Romania. In December 2011, Internet Usage in the European Union - EU27 (Internet Word Stats, 2012) counted 8,578,484 Internet users. That represented a virtual electoral pool, which the politicians could not have missed (Tudor, 2008).

Facebook is the second-most-visited site, after Google. "If someone use the Internet, that person is increasingly likely to use Facebook" (Kirkpatrick, 2010: 16). In November 2009 Facebook recorded 414.000 accounts originating in Romania. According to the Facebrands.ro - Facebook Pages Monitoring Service in Romania (2012), on January 1st 2010 there were only 518.140 Facebook users, while on January 1st 2011 their number reached 2.405.920.

According to the Facebook Global Monitor, published by InsideFacebook.com, in 2010 the largest number of Facebook users were in the United States, but the next ten countries were a global mix. In order, they were the United Kingdom, Turkey, Indonesia, France, Canada, Italy, the Philippines, Spain, Australia, and Colombia. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.