Facing up to Facebook: politicians, publics and the social media(ted) turn in New Zealand

Karen Ross, Susan Fountaine, Margie Comrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


Social media have an increasingly important place in the lives of citizens, and their potential to expand the reach of communication messages beyond individual networks is attractive to those looking to maximise message efficiency. The influence of Facebook in Obama’s 2008 campaign success galvanised many politicians into taking it seriously as a campaign tool. Our study explored the Facebook wall posts (1148 in total) of New Zealand Members of Parliament (MPs) leading up to the 2011 general election to determine posting behaviours and differences. Among other things, we found that women posted more frequently than men and that Labour MPs posted more than their National counterparts. Additionally, most politicians do not invite dialogue with readers of their posts, rarely get involved in comment threads and mostly take a monologic approach, using Facebook as a way of broadcasting information rather than as a medium enabling two-way flow. In other words, same old, same old.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-269
JournalMedia, Culture & Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2015


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