Just Published! Social TV and Pluralism in Talk Shows

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From contents to comments:

Social TV and perceived pluralism in political talk shows

New Media & Society (Journal IF: 3.110)

Co-author: Sergio Splendore

Acknowledgments: Voices from the Blogs; Giovanni De Stasio

 

What is worth remembering:

  • We locate the audience of talk shows in a two-dimensional space based on positive and negative sentiment expressed toward guest politicians
  • We evalute pluralism and audience fragmentation accordingly
  • Public television offers a plural set of talk shows but ignores the antipolitical audience
  • Across media networks, there exists a variety of shows appealing to different audiences
  • We find a statistically significant difference between the average left-right position of the shows presented by left-wing or right-wing hosts
  • There is no gender bias: female guests are not evaluated more negatively than males

Abstract

Going beyond source and content pluralism, we propose a two-dimensional audiencebased measure of perceived pluralism by exploiting the practice of “social TV”. For this purpose, 135,228 tweets related to 30 episodes of prime time political talk shows broadcast in Italy in 2014 have been analyzed through supervised sentiment analysis. The findings suggest that the two main TV networks compete by addressing generalist audiences. The public television offers a plural set of talk shows but ignores the antipolitical audience. The ideological background of the anchorman shapes the audience’s perception, while the gender of the guests does not seem to matter.

Just Published! Intra-party politics in 140 characters

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Intra-party politics in 140 characters

Party Politics (Journal IF: 1.271)

Acknowledgements: Alessandra Cremonesi for help
with data collection; participants and organizers of the La
Pietra Dialogues on Social Media and Political Participation
(Firenze, May 10–11, 2013) and Workshop on intraparty
politics in Europe (Gotheborg, September 17–18, 2015).

Replication material: andreaceron.com/publications

 What is worth remembering:

  • Politicians’ language online seems ideological in nature (at least in Italy)
  • When this is the case, by analyzing social media posts through automated text analysis we can assess policy position of intra-party subgroups and individual politicians
  • Their comments are informative on dissent, legislative behavior and career perspectives

Abstract

Scholars have emphasized the need to deepen investigation of intraparty politics. Recent studies look at social media as a source of information on the ideological preferences of politicians and political actors. In this regard, the present article tests whether social media messages published by politicians are a suitable source of data. It applies quantitative text analysis to the public statements released by politicians on social media in order to measure intraparty heterogeneity and assess its effects. Three different applications to the Italian case are discussed. Indeed, the content of messages posted online is informative on the ideological preferences of politicians and proved to be useful to understand intraparty dynamics. Intraparty divergences measured through social media analysis explain: (a) a politician’s choice to endorse one or another party leader, (b) a politician’s likelihood to switch off from his or her parliamentary party group; and (c) a politician’s probability to be appointed as a minister.

Just Published! iSA: supervised aggregated sentiment analysis of social media

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iSA: a fast, scalable and accurate algorithm for sentiment analysis of social media content

Information Sciences (Journal IF: 4.038)

Co-authors: Luigi Curini & Stefano M. Iacus

Replication material: www.sciencedirect.com

What is worth remembering:

  • The new algorithm iSA for sentiment/opinion analysis is presented
  • iSA is fast, scalable, accurate and language independent
  • iSA is stable if the number of classes/opinions is large and allows for cross-tabulation
  • iSA works in the case of random and non-random sampling

Abstract

We present iSA (integrated Sentiment Analysis), a novel algorithm designed for social networks and Web 2.0 sphere (Twitter, blogs, etc.) opinion analysis, i.e. developed for the digital environments characterized by abundance of noise compared to the amount of information. Instead of performing an individual classification and then aggregate the predicted values, iSA directly estimates the aggregated distribution of opinions. Based on supervised hand-coding rather than NLP techniques or ontological dictionaries, iSA is a language-agnostic algorithm (based on human coders’ abilities). iSA exploits a dimensionality reduction approach which makes it scalable, fast, memory efficient, stable and statistically accurate. The cross-tabulation of opinions is possible with iSA thanks to its stability. Through empirical analysis it will be shown when iSA outperforms machine learning techniques of individual classification (e.g. SVM, Random Forests, etc) as well as the only other alternative for aggregated sentiment analysis known as ReadMe.

Just Published! Competing Principals 2.0? Facebook, Renzi and the 2013 Head of State Election

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Competing Principals 2.0? The impact of Facebook in the 2013 selection of the Italian Head of State

Italian Political Science Review / Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica

Acknowledgments: Alberto Fragapane and Alessandra Cremonesi for their contribution to data collection. Two anonymous leaders of the former right-wing PD minority faction for providing ‘expert’ information on the factional affiliation of PD MPs.

Replication material: 

andreaceron.com/publications OR http://thedata.harvard.edu/dvn/dv/ipsr-risp

What is worth remembering:

  • Facebook pressure did not affect MPs’ propensity to express public dissent over the party line
  • Contrary to the general wisdom, unexperienced MPs selected through primaries did not conform to social media requests
  • Social media were not (yet) a new ‘competing principals’
  • More traditional ‘principals’ played a role: factional membership, seniority, primary
    elections.
  • ‘Sentimeter’ guys were right
  • It’s not so easy to publish ‘negative’ findings!

Abstract

Motivated by the literature on ‘competing principals’, this article studies the effect of interactive social networking sites on the behavior of politicians. For this purpose, 12,455 comments posted on the Facebook walls of 423 Italian MPs have been analyzed to assess whether Facebook played a role in the selection of the Italian Head of State in 2013, enhancing responsiveness. The statistical analysis reveals that the pressure exerted through social media did not affect MPs’ propensity to express public dissent over the party line, which is instead affected by more traditional ‘principals’ and factors: seniority, primary elections, and factional membership.

Just Published! Public Policy & Mobilization of Online Public Opinion

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The “Social Side” of Public Policy: Monitoring Online Public Opinion and Its Mobilization During the Policy Cycle

Policy & Internet

Co-author: Fedra Negri

Acknowledgments: Voices from the Blogs for providing data

 

What is worth remembering:

  • We found similarities between 1) Survey data, 2) online Sentiment, 3) online Government Consultation
  • Social media data can disclose citizens’ reaction to public policies
  • Social media data can capture stakeholders’ mobilization and de-mobilization processes

Abstract

This article addresses the potential role played by social media analysis in promoting interaction between politicians, bureaucrats, and citizens. We show that in a “Big Data” world, the comments posted online by social media users can profitably be used to extract meaningful information, which can support the action of policymakers along the policy cycle. We analyze Twitter data through the technique of Supervised Aggregated Sentiment Analysis. We develop two case studies related to the “jobs act” labor market reform and the “#labuonascuola” school reform, both formulated and implemented by the Italian Renzi cabinet in 2014–15. Our results demonstrate that social media data can help policymakers to rate the available policy alternatives according to citizens’ preferences during the formulation phase of a public policy; can help them to monitor citizens’ opinions during the implementation phase; and capture stakeholders’ mobilization and de-mobilization processes. We argue that, although social media analysis cannot replace other research methods, it provides a fast and cheap stream of information that can supplement traditional analyses, enhancing responsiveness and institutional learning.

Just Published! e-Campaigning and Valence Issues in EU Elections 2014

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e-Campaigning in the 2014 European elections. The emphasis on valence issues in a two-dimensional multiparty system

Party Politics (Journal IF: 1.830)

Co-authors: Luigi Curini

Replication material: andreaceron.com/publications

 

What is worth remembering:

  • Parties that are closer to many rivals adopt more valence campaigning
  • In two-dimensions this effect should be higher for ‘positive’ valence campaigning rather than ‘negative’ valence
  • In two-dimensions negative campaigning can benefit many other parties apart from the one that performs it (for proximity reasons)
  • In two-dimensions there is an incentive to tone down the debate
  • e-Campaigning on Twitter provides a novel precious source of information on political issues

Abstract

The article explores the relationship between the incentives of parties to campaign on valence issues and the ideological proximity between one party and its competitors. Building from the existing literature, we provide a novel theoretical model that investigates this relationship in a two-dimensional multiparty system. Our theoretical argument is then tested focusing on the 2014 European electoral campaign in the five largest European countries, through an analysis of the messages posted by parties in their official Twitter accounts. Our results highlight an inverse relationship between a party’s distance from its neighbors and its likelihood to emphasize valence issues. However, as suggested in our theoretical framework, this effect is statistically significant only with respect to valence positive campaigning. Our findings have implications for the literature on valence competition, electoral campaigns, and social media.

Just Published! Twitter vs Media: First and Second level Agenda Setting in Italy

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First and Second Level Agenda-Setting in the Twitter-Sphere. An Application to the Italian Political Debate

Journal of Information Technology & Politics

Co-authors: Luigi Curini & Stefano M. Iacus

Acknowledgments: Voices from the Blogs for providing data

What is worth remembering:

  • We analyze agenda-setting focusing on two salient issues in the Italian political debate: austerity and the public funding of parties (related to Euro-skepticism and anti-politics)
  • We compared Twitter and the Online News
  • Using a Lead-Lag statistical technique we find that mass media still retain
  • First-Level Agenda-Setting: They influence the Twitter-attention toward an issue
  • Journalists can act as watch-dogs as their action can promote further (public) discussion also on anti-establishment issues
  • Using Supervised Sentiment Analysis we find that mass media do not exert Second-Level Agenda-Setting: They do not influence the Twitter-attitudes toward an issue
  • We found a citizen-elite divide between the opinions expressed on SNS and the slant spread by the media elite

Abstract

The rise of Social Network Sites re-opened the debate on the ability of traditional media to influence the public opinion and act as agenda-setter. To answer this question, the present paper investigates first-level and second-level agenda-setting effects in the online environment by focusing on two Italian heated political debates (the reform of public funding of parties and the debate over austerity). By employing innovative and efficient statistical methods like the lead-lag analysis and supervised sentiment analysis, we compare the attention devoted to each issue and the content spread by online news media and Twitter users. Our results show that online media keep their first-level agenda-setting power even though we find a marked difference between the slant of online news and the Twitter sentiment.