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Politicians online! MEP communication strategies in the Internet era. EPIN Working Paper No. 29/September 2010

Braghiroli, Stefano. (2010) Politicians online! MEP communication strategies in the Internet era. EPIN Working Paper No. 29/September 2010. [Working Paper]

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    The last decades have witnessed a dramatic growth of internet-based communication. This phenomenon and its still partially unexplored potential have increasingly attracted the attention of a growing number of political entrepreneurs. This paper analyses to what extent it has characterised vertical communication between politicians and voters looking at a very particular group: the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). To conduct the analysis, this study categorised an impressive number of MEPs’ individual websites in the 6th European Parliament (EP) according to their structural, graphic and informative/communicative features. Accordingly, quantitative and qualitative cross-country and cross-party variance have been explored taking into consideration a wide array of potential explanatory dimensions, including sociodemographic, country-level, ideological, and electoral factors. The paper also presents some preliminary figures concerning the most recent developments in the current EP and possible future trajectories. This study proposes a categorisation of different MEP types on the basis of their e-activism: those who are still reluctant to embrace internet-based communication, those looking at the web only as a complementary tool alongside more traditional forms of communication (e-MEPs) and those who invest a fairly amount of resources in these new forms of communication (MEPs 2.0). Our findings show that, despite the relevant cross-country and cross-party variance, the last group of MEPs 2.0 is dramatically growing vis-à-vis the other two. When it comes to the analysis of MEPs’ personal web-pages, our study shows that, by and large the features of the sites and the communication strategies adopted are generally specifically designed to target MEPs’ ‘electorate of reference’ in terms of expected demand and proposed offer.

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    Item Type: Working Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > European Parliament
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > public opinion
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Centre for European Policy Studies (Brussels) > EPIN Working Papers
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2011 08:38
    Number of Pages: 20
    Last Modified: 21 Mar 2011 08:38

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