J&MCQ Special Issue Call for Papers

“Social Media in Political Campaigning around the World”

The growth of social media worldwide has been simply unprecedented. Latest statistics show that more than three-fourths of U.S. adults use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, with social network use becoming almost ubiquitous among young adults, according to recent data from the Pew Research Center. Globally, an estimated 2.2 billion people use social networks on a daily basis, with that number projected to reach 2.5 billion by 2018. With their tremendous growth, social media have become an indispensable part of modern political campaigning, both in the United States and internationally.

The increasing importance of social media among potential voters has not gone unnoticed by politicians. Hillary Clinton launched her 2016 presidential campaign on Twitter and YouTube in an effort to reach a younger demographic and create a more accessible image among the public. As politicians increasingly rely on social media to get their messages across, the potential impact of social media in politics has become the focus of a growing number of research studies. Yet there is a lack of thorough understanding of the ways in which social media engagement affects voters, and a clear need to develop more comprehensive and inclusive models that go beyond simple linear relationships and take into account personal and psychological predispositions. There is also a need for more theoretically driven content studies that examine social media as part of the larger ecosystem along with traditional media.

With this year’s 2016 U.S. presidential elections, scholars have a timely opportunity to contribute to theory-building and revisit underlying key questions such as: How has social media use by political candidates evolved over time? Is there any conclusive evidence that politicians’ use of social media tools increases their favorability or strengthens citizen engagement? What are the key factors that may mitigate the effects of social media on voters? Do these effects hold true in different contexts and for different platforms? Most importantly, does stronger reliance on social media motivate voters to retain higher levels of political knowledge or political participation, and if so, what are the underlying mechanisms?

Given the evolution of social media use over time, the growing importance of social media for politicians around the globe and the lack of comprehensive theoretical understanding of the social media political content and use, underlying processes and potential effects, this special issue of Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly has the potential to fill an important gap in the political communication literature. Combining a number of articles under this research umbrella could lead to important theoretical and methodological contributions, and also bridge several disciplinary domains including journalism, mass communication, new media and political science.

Contributions:  The proposed special issue will focus on the content and use of different social networks—such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Reddit and YouTube—and their perceived and observed effects during most recent political campaigns in the United States and internationally. There is a need for more research on how social media function in a global context. Producing a volume that goes beyond stand-alone research studies and that combines individual articles in a comprehensive journal issue allows for better understanding of the underlying processes and potential outcomes of social media use across various demographic groups and different national contexts.  Contributions may employ a variety of methodological approaches, both qualitative and quantitative, and could explore different forms of social media use for political purposes. Submissions are encouraged to examine a range of political outcome variables, including but not limited to campaign interest, political knowledge, and political and civic engagement. Both U.S.-based and international authors can share most recent research findings related to innovative uses of social media in politics and discuss some of the opportunities and challenges brought by social media nationally and globally. The purpose of this special issue is to provide an opportunity for theory-building toward more comprehensive, comparative models of social media effects in political campaigns.

Submission Deadline:  The deadline for full paper submissions is June 1, 2017, at https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jmcq
Authors should clearly designate their submission online as “Special Issue on Social Media and Political Campaigning” and also note in their cover letters that the manuscript is for the JMCQ special issue. Authors are requested to submit manuscripts in APA Style, 6th edition. Submitted papers should be in line with the submission guidelines for Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, available at http://www.sagepub.com/journals/Journal202061/manuscriptSubmission

For questions regarding this special issue, please contact the co-editors: Daniela Dimitrova, Iowa State, DanielaD@iastate.edu, or
Jörg Matthes, Vienna, joerg.matthes@univie.ac.at.

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