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Social media like Facebook and Twitter place the focus on the individual politician rather than the political party, thereby expanding the political arena for increased for personalized campaigning. The need to use social media to communicate a personal image as a politician and to post personalized messages online seems less obvious in a party-centred system such as the Norwegian. Within this framework, the personalized and dialogical aspects of social media may be contradicted by the political parties' structural communication strategies. The article uses data from interviews and status updates from two Norwegian election campaigns and asks for what purposes Norwegian politicians use social media as a tool for political communication. The findings show that politicians' report both marketing and dialogue with voters as motives for their social media use and their practices varied, too. Politicians' reported motive to use social media for marketing purposes was reflected in their actual use. The preferred social media platform for marketing purposes was Facebook. Twitter was more used for continuous dialogue compared to Facebook. Social media marketing was personalized and involved private exposure and individual initiatives. The article concludes by indicating hypotheses and need for further research.
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Keywords: Facebook; Norway; Twitter; election campaigns; social media

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1093, Blindern Oslo, 0317, Norway

Publication date: June 1, 2013

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