THE NEW PRE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATION MODEL: POLITICAL TRANSFORMATIONS UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
The 2016-2018 pre-election cycle in France, the USA and Russia showed that the development of analytical methods applied to pre-election campaigns, which would take into consideration the influence of social media and the analysis of the degree of potential electors’ involvement into the Internet, are warrant. The article deals with the results of the empirical research entitled “The pre-Election Campaign Communication Model: comparative analysis of the US experience in Russia”, in which we have analyzed the election campaign of one of the most “unexpected” Russian presidential candidates – Ksenia Anatolievna Sobchak. The “unexpected” means that she has never appeared at the political stage before and nobody has ever seen her participating in the presidential elections. Moreover, K.A. Sobchak announced her pre-election campaign a year and a half before the elections.
The empirical ground for the research was taken from the presidential candidate’s accounts in social networks. Throughout the research, the discourse-analysis of the content of Ksenia Anatolievna Sobchak’s personal pages in four social networks (VK, Instagram, Facebook and Odnoklassniki) was carried out. The obtained selection of network sites and communities for the discourse-analysis contains all the content which was posted by the candidate from the event of declaration of being a candidate for Russian presidency (from 18th May 2017 to 19th March 2018).
As a result of the research, a novel pre-election campaign communication model was created and conceptualized. The characteristic features of the model are as follows: three to five features of the targeted pre-election messages; directivity on interaction with unofficial mass media; paying attention to K.A. Sobchak’s personality visualization in social media, which has not always been real but appealed to some certain groups of voters. The findings of K. Sobchak and D. Trump’s election campaigns comparative analyses, similar means of producing and maintaining the political content were pointed out, as well as common linguistic and discursive methods of interaction with prospective voters and political opponents were developed.
The hybrid analytical instruments (semantic analysis, content analysis, network analysis, linguistic analysis) used in the research, allowed to describe the tendencies of development and transformation of the pre-election technologies under the influence of social media and the spread of a modern type of political culture, i.e. post-truth politics. To sum up, the research findings would allow to create new branches in sociopolitical research based on hybrid scientific researchers’ work.
Keywords: Election cycle, communication strategy, social media, semantic analysis, network analysis.
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