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Poland going broadband: the study of political websites in the era of new technologies and WEB 2.0.

Michał Jacuński
University of Wrocław
Michał Jacuński
University of Wrocław
Open Panel

Abstract

There has been growing fascination amongst party campaigners, individual politicians, media and communication professionals of the role of the Internet as a communication channel (Bimber, Davies, 2003). This quite a gradual increase in political actors’ interest in the Internet, e-campaigning and social networking sites was distinctly transformed after the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign. It is no surprise, therefore, that some Polish politicians and candidates dogmatized the likely role of the Internet in electioneering. It is necessary however to support the arguments used in several debates concerning Western Europe countries (e.g. Jankowski et. al. 2005, Van Os, 2008) in further empirical research led in a developing country, employing quantitative and qualitative content analysis of personal websites (PW) of the Members of Polish Parliament and party websites. The author verifies the idea of standardization and normalization (Lusoli, 2005) process of the e-campaigning and e-communication, comparing to processes observed in Western countries, e.g. in Germany (Schweitzer, 2008), France (Michalska, Vedel, 2009), and UK (Jackson, Lilleker, 2009). Hence, the overall aim of this paper is to identify how MEP candidates, MPs and relevant parties used the Internet and particularly their PW in the period of 2009-2011. This will be achieved by testing main hypotheses through following research questions: 1. To what extent is the Web 1.0 approach to web use being supplemented with Web 2.0 features? 2. To what extent are visitors to MPs’ websites encouraged to get actively involved in the two – way communication? 3. Do the websites offer an engaging or/and interactive experience? 4. What are the key engaging and mobilizing features used? The author will assess various patterns and strategies of communication adopted by the main political actors in the organizational, societal and political context.