Perceptions of Use: Social Networking Sites, MPs and Citizens
The Internet has many benefits for politicians including its ability to immediately disseminate information and facilitate communication. This study contributes to the body of research on the political consequences of the Internet through an analysis of: how and why New Zealand MPs are using social networking sites; and the perceptions of the public regarding MPs’ use of social networking sites. The research used data generated from a content analysis of MP’s Facebook profiles, analysis of data from coffee.geek.nz, online surveys of social networking site users, interviews with five MPs, and interviews with two young people. The findings of the study showed that MPs are using social networking sites in a similar manner to how they use blogs with little real commitment to increased two-way communication. The study also showed that young people perceived MPs’ use of these sites in a very different way to the MPs themselves. The public view MPs’ use of these sites as limited and aimed more towards information provision than communication. The research concludes that only a full commitment to the communication potential of the sites, on the behalf of an MP, can lead to greater interactivity and communication between politicians and constituents.
Advisor: Rudd, Chris
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Politics
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: MPs; Social Networking Sites; New Zealand; communication; Politic
Research Type: Thesis