From Super-Participants to Super-Echoed. Participation in the 2018 Italian Electoral Twittersphere


Who and how takes part in a typical Twitter discussion about political elections? In what degree? In our study we try to shed some light on these questions by examining the case of Italian 2018 national election. Starting from the database that we collected during the latest general campaign, we analyse all the users who participated in the discussion unfolding in the two months preceding the vote. To do that, we exploit the concept of super-participants isolating the 1% of users who generate large part of the discussion. We study them identifying the two main participation flows in the Twittersphere generated by tweets and retweets, discovering that participation curves are very skewed. To address issues of centrality and inclusiveness in online communication, we look at who the super-participants are in the broader society, finding that many of them are citizens. To inquire if participation draws attention, we identify a set of super-echoed users discovering that, belonging to élite categories is still an advantage given that starting popularity is often more important to be shared than participation. In fact, citizens’ super-participation is not mirrored by an equally consistent received attention. Notwithstanding, political supporters and satirical blogs emerge to be two very interesting categories.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20356609v11i2p361

Keywords: electoral campaign; super-participants; super-echoed; participation inequality; Twitter; 1% rule


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