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The Last Will Be the First. A Study of European Issue Publics on Twitter


Abstract


This article analyzes topics of European relevance on Twitter. It does so by examining #schengen and #ttip Twitter hashtags as a case study. The purpose of this article is to detect which accounts are most important in terms of the number of ties received, and whether they are elite or non-elite actors. This is done by calculating the in-degree and out-degree scores of nodes involved in the networks generated by the usage of the two hashtags. The research reveals that it is easier for civil society and citizens to enjoy an important level of attention similar to that of the media, institutions and politicians on topics of European relevance. The outcomes of this research are important when it comes to understanding how a digital platform such as Twitter contributes to bottom-up conversations about relevant European topics. What we learn here about the structure and configuration of these networks helps us obtaining a more fine-grained understanding of new forms of communication and interaction used by citizens, and their implications for the emergence of a European Public Sphere.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20356609v11i2p423

Keywords: Twitter; network analysis; issue publics; Schengen; TTIP; Europe

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