Polyphony of discourse on and about Twitter: Analysis of Twitter uses in the European Parliament, Commission and Council

A session at Twitter and Microblogging: Political, Professional and Personal Practices

Wednesday 10th April, 2013

2:15pm to 2:45pm

Digital social networks appear to offer its users a tool for expression which is both personalized and institutionalized. What are the consequences for the European institutions and what is the impact on its political communication? This presentation focuses on three European institutions (the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council) and investigates whether Twitter makes it possible, or not, to articulate various types of discourses on one single platform, in particular the « neutral speech » of the institution and the « speech of truth » of its actors. To this end, the study uses a sociodiscursive approach and looks into the discourses of civil servants about Twitter, as well as analyzing the discourses they produce on Twitter. This presentation points to contradictions between the discourses about Twitter and the discourses on Twitter. Discourses on Twitter lead to the blurring of politics and to a more consensual form of communication. The presentation highlights the fluctuation in the way the issuer is presenting him or herself, resulting in instability in the way the message is produced on Twitter.

After focusing on civil servants in the European institutions, the presentation turns to Members of the European Parliament (MEP) and investigates whether Twitter has an impact not only on political communication but also on political work in the European Parliament. The single paper presentation shows that Twitter does not fundamentally alter political work and political communication but rather fits into a larger dispositif of various tools, which have distinctive objectives. Digital social networks are embedded in a more comprehensive approach to communication aiming at articulating various types of discourses of MEPs, and adjusting language to audiences.

This presentation chooses to focus on actors and practices in order to analyze discourses on and about Twitter. This standpoint justifies the proposed research methodology: participant observation, interviews and discursive analysis.

About the speaker

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Sandrine Roginsky

Université Catholique de Louvain

Next session in GF4

3:15pm Uses and risks of microblogging in organisations by Soureh Latif Shabgahi

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Time 2:15pm2:45pm GMT

Date Wed 10th April 2013

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