Iannelli, Laura and Giglietto, Fabio (2015) Hybrid spaces of politics: the 2013 general elections in Italy, between talk shows and Twitter. Information, Communication & Society (in press). ISSN 1369-118X. eISSN 1468-4462. Article.
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This article analyses the relationship between mediated politics and participation, adopting a hybrid approach that stresses the connections between older and newer media. The study adopts a practice-based approach, considering the ways TV audiences, politicians, and journalists used Twitter in order to participate in the discourses activated around Italian political talk shows, during the ‘permanent’ campaign for the 2013 general elections (from September 2012 to June 2013; 11 shows; 1076 episodes). We analysed these communication practices referring, at first, to the complete collection of tweets, including the official hashtags of Italian political talk shows (2,489,669 tweets). The analysis pointed out that a narrow audience had access to these practices, and that the potential for media and politicians to interact with audiences/citizens and to manage their ‘interpretive engagement’ in the construction of agendas has not been actualized. Furthermore, focusing on a sample of tweets produced around the three main parties (15,737) and the relative TV scene (23), the analysis showed that connected audiences were engaged especially in two forms of participation ‘through’ Twitter during talk shows (opinions/comments and requests for interaction with the TV hosts and guests). The article suggests a newer way to work on big data in order to gather a first-hand narrative of participation, left online by networked publics, without forgetting the contribution older techniques could make to the understanding of hybrid practices of political communication and participation.
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