Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2022

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

John Sonnett

Second Advisor

Jonathan Klingler

Third Advisor

Ana Velitchkova

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

This paper seeks to develop methodologies and testing methods for the agenda setting power of Swiss political organizational accounts on Twitter to determine who sets agenda about environmental topics. Previous research has examined social media’s agenda setting power over traditional media but has been unable to draw conclusions on which political organizations set agenda on other organizations. Research has suggested that larger organizations might have an agenda setting role over smaller ones, and organizations perceived as experts may set agenda over others. Twitter data from official organizational accounts was collected, encoded as environmental or not, and then fitted to a Vector Autoregressive model to understand how environmental content published in the past by some organizations predicts environmental content published in the present by other organizations. There is little evidence that large organizations set environmental agenda on Twitter, and mixed results that perceived experts set agenda. These findings suggest that Swiss organizations believe voters will pick up cues from perceived experts, and thus are quick to jump on trends set by these experts such as green political parties. The methodologies outlined in this study will help provide framework for further analyses to understand which types of political organizations set agenda in the long run.

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