Dialogue of the Deaf: Listening on Twitter and Democratic Responsiveness during the 2015 South African State of the Nation Address

Lone Sorensen, Heather Ford, Walid Al-Saqaf, Tanja Bosch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This chapter investigates the use of social media as a channel of communication between citizens and government. It draws on the concept of ‘listening’ in democratic communication (Couldry, N., Why Voice Matters: Culture and Politics After Neoliberalism. Los Angeles, CA: Sage, 2010; Dobson, A., Listening for Democracy: Recognition, Representation, Reconciliation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014). In the run-up to the 2015 State of the Nation Address, the South African presidency conducted a listening exercise on Twitter, which failed on all counts. Combining quantitative and qualitative analyses of Twitter conversations, the chapter evaluates the quality of listening and identifies the reasons for the collapse of the conversation. The findings suggest that while poorly performed listening campaigns can result in spiralling frustration among citizens, social media platforms like Twitter can also provide opportunities for governments to listen in a manner that serves a more positive relationship with citizens.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedia, Communication and the Struggle for Democratic Change
Subtitle of host publicationCase Studies on Contested Transitions
EditorsKatrin Voltmer, Christian Christensen, Nicole Stremlau, Irene Neverla, Barbara Thomass, Neboša Vladisavljevic, Herman Wasserman
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Chapter10
Pages229-254
Number of pages26
Edition1
ISBN (Electronic)9783030167486
ISBN (Print)9783030167479, 303016747X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sep 2019

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Dialogue of the Deaf: Listening on Twitter and Democratic Responsiveness during the 2015 South African State of the Nation Address'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Sorensen, L., Ford, H., Al-Saqaf, W., & Bosch, T. (2019). Dialogue of the Deaf: Listening on Twitter and Democratic Responsiveness during the 2015 South African State of the Nation Address. In K. Voltmer, C. Christensen, N. Stremlau, I. Neverla, B. Thomass, N. Vladisavljevic, & H. Wasserman (Eds.), Media, Communication and the Struggle for Democratic Change: Case Studies on Contested Transitions (1 ed., pp. 229-254). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-16748-6_10