Influence of Media on the Political Conversation on Twitter: Activity, Popularity, and Authority in the Digital Debate in Spain
ICONO 14 (2020)
25 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2020
Date Written: January 1, 2020
Traditionally media (newspapers, television stations, radio networks, and news agencies) have exerted a great influence on society, but their role is changing in the face of the emergence of the digital environment. Although we know a lot about how to measure digital influence, we still have little evidence on how it is exercised in social media. In order to reverse this deficit, big data techniques are used on a sample of 127.3 million tweets with the goal of learning which were the most influential in the political debate on Twitter in Spain. Through a methodology based on machine learning and social network analysis, the most influential media are identified based on their nature, type, perceived ideological position, and territorial coverage. For this, three indicators of digital influence are used: activity, popularity, and authority. The results indicate that the exercise of influence on Twitter inside the media system is being reconfigured in depth. Likewise, the data reveal the incidence of the perceived ideological position of the media – when it comes to having more or less centrality in the network and being able to influence the interactions on Twitter. Finally, although media register high values in activity and popularity, in general they obtain intermediate or low values in authority. This lack of authority calls into question the power of the media to effectively influence the political debate on Twitter.
Keywords: Political communication, Influence, Twitter, Media, Newspapers, Television, Radio stations, News agencies, Political conversation, Interactions, Big data
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