This analysis of issue emphasis on Twitter by the seven main German parties during the 2017 federal election campaign underlines the importance of taking a time-sensitive approach when investigating issue competition. We show that the attention parties give to issues they are associated with fluctuates frequently on social media and alternates with other thematic priorities that may not be ‘owned’. In the digital age, therefore, established theories of issue ownership come under pressure. Our findings reveal that short-term issue emphasis is driven by exogenous shocks and spatial considerations. The exact mechanism behind parties’ decisions to emphasise a specific issue in the short run depends on the type of issue in focus. Communication on economic left-right and socio-cultural issues is shaped by different strategies. Our study reveals that when studying issue competition online different policy dimensions need to be distinguished just as the temporal dynamics need to be understood. This needs to be done instead of aggregating data to give a holistic account.

Der Artikel "Short-Term Issue Emphasis on Twitter During the 2017 German Election: A Comparison of the Economic Left-Right and Socio-Cultural Dimensions" (mit Andrea Ceron und Luigi Curini) kann hier [externer Link] eingesehen werden.