Category Archives: Social Media

Social Media & Political engagement in Denmark (DECIDIS survey)

How do Danes engage with and through social media in public political debates? Are Danes becoming participatory content creators or is this a mere ideal of social media use? A preliminary analysis of the data collected in the DECIDIS survey “Social Media and Political Engagement” shows that social media and especially Facebook continues to be a central part of most Danes daily media habits. That is to say, social media does seem to engage some people in political debate, however, most of the Danes prefer using social media platforms to stay in contact with friends and family, and to receive news. In sum, the survey suggests the following three statements about social media use in Denmark:

  1. Social media is widely used in Denmark, however the average age as well as the frequency and type of use differ greatly.
  2. Danes use social media primarily to read (“stay in touch” or “be informed”) rather than produce original content or participate in political debates.
  3. Overall, young Danes are much more present on social media platforms. Espeically, the generation between 20 and 39 years is using social media for political debate.

Full report (PDF)

A more detailed look at the user numbers shows that Facebook is the most popular social media platform in Denmark: 72,4%  older than 15 have a Facebook account and 58% use Facebook at least once a day. The data further shows that Facebook has penetrated all age groups. Almost all young Danes use Facebook (91,2% in the age group 16-19) and still more than half of the over 70 year olds (61,5%) use Facebook. Generally, Facebook is a popular platform for news consumption and staying in contact with friends and family. A slightly different picture can be seen when looking at Instagram and Snapchat. Young Danes use these two services significantly more than older Danes. While 82,4% of the 16 to 19 year olds use Snapchat, less than 1% of the 70 year olds use the instant messenger. In contrast Twitter is generally much less popular. Fewer people have an account and, of those who do, very few people use it daily. In this sense Twitter is a more public platform and therefore mostly used for public relations.

Within the survey three different types of social media use were distinguished: reading, producing and participating. From a democratic perspective, participating (= interacting with the available content) is the most desirable from of engagement. However, according to the findings of the survey Danes use social media mostly to read and watch content. This can be illustrated with the iceberg metaphor: The bottom is formed by readers, the middle by producers creating content and the top the participants actively engaging in discussions.

With regards to political discussions, most people say they never discuss politics with people they do not know online. Few people say they do so often but a larger portion say they may do so though seldom. Unsurprisingly, most people say they never change their mind on a political issue after a discussion online. Some say they do this occasionally and only few say often or always. These finding suggest that social media is not simply generating echo chambers supporting conformation bias, but these platforms can also lead to new ideas and changed opinions of users. Especially younger Danes use Facebook to discuss politics online. 22,6% of the 20 to 29 year old Facebook users engage frequently in political debate.

In conclusion, it can be said that Danes produce content online, however not solely as content producers but as producers of data. Every click online leaves traces and this may be an increasing form of digital content production.

Contact DECIDIS survey: Luca Rossi,
Foto credit: Morten Hjelholt

DECIDIS survey shows social media has become a multifaceted part of Danish society

What? Presentation of survey “Social Media and Politicial Engagement” in Denmark
When? March 9th, 14.00-16.00
Where? IT University Copenhagen, Room 3A54

How do Danish citizens participate politically with and through social media? This is one of the main questions explored in the DECIDIS study “Social Media and Political Engagement”. Starting point of the study is to measure political engagement in social media, especially along the practices of “reading”, “producing” and “participating”. A preliminary analysis of the collected data shows that social media use has matured. This means social media has become an integral part of everyday life, for example about 74% of Danish Facebook users older than 16 years use Facebook daily. This, however, also means that expectations towards political participation online may have to be adjusted – not all users are as engaged as generally assumed or wished for. Especially young Danes seek private spaces online and they find those in services such as Instagram and Snapchat; even though technically speaking Facebook offers a greater variety of privacy settings. The study further shows that social media is widely used to receive and read news; 47% of the 16-18 year old Facebook users say that they use Facebook daily in this matter. About 37% of the 19-29 year old Facebook users and 33% of the 20-39 year old Facebook users do so as well.

DECIDIS researchers Gitte Stald, Luca Rossi and Lisbeth Klastrup will present and discuss the study next Wednesday, March 9th (14.00-16.00, IT University Copenhagen, AUD 4) in greater detail. Everybody interested in the Danish social media sphere is invited, no registration needed. We are looking forward to discuss the findings of the study with you!

Slides DECIDIS survey presentation
Full report (English/Dansk)

DECIDIS survey: Social Media & Political Engagement

Wednesday, March 9th
14.00 – 16.00, IT University Copenhagen
Room: AUD4

Next Wednesday DECIDIS researchers Gitte Stald and Luca Rossi will present first findings of the annual DECIDIS survey researching the Danish social media sphere. The representative survey provides insight into Danish media habits and preferences. The goal of the study is to contribute towards the on-going discussion how social media influences democractic practices. Contact:

Everybody is welcome, no registration needed!

Political campaigning in 2020?

How will election campaigns evolve in relation to increasing social media use? This was the main question tackled by digital media researcher Axel Bruns, and DECIDIS researchers Luca RossiLisbeth Klastrup and Sander Schwartz during the seminar “Election 2020” tacking place at the IT University of Copenhagen.

Axel Bruns, known for his extensive research on Twitter, started off by talking about the policital landscape in Australia. The case of political campaigning in Australia provides an interesting context as it raises the questions whether the law enforcing compulsory voting at federal and state level encourages awareness of political issues and political actors or not. In this regard it can be stated that the main focus needs to be put on the swinging middle, which makes up 10-20% of Australian voters. Drawing on comprehensive research in relation to the hashtags #ausvotes, #qldvotes and #wavotes Bruns concluded that Twitter has evolved from a narrow “Twitterati” in-group tool to a mainstream campaign tool. The collected data further suggests that there is no relation between how often a politician is mentioned on Twitter and the final election outcome. Additionally, the dynamics of recent elections, which have largely favoured the conservative side, mean that the Australian conservative Coalition bloc, which has won a number of landslide elections, has yet to engage in the question how to use social media effectively. By contrast, social media are especially important for small Australian parties, which are active on social media but are systematically disadvantaged by the first-past-the-post system used in Australian elections.

The following presentation by Lisbeth Klastrup shed light on the Danish context. Danish politicians are active in the Facebook sphere since 2007 and have fully adopted the medium in 2011 when Facebook became a mainstream tool for politicial communication. By contrast, Twitter has only been used by early adopters in 2011 and is now slowly becoming a mainstream tool. Klastrup further talked about “defining moments” where the social sphere made an actual impact. In 2007, for example, invited Anders Fogh Rasmussen his Facebook “friends” for a run and therewith engaged with his online community offline. Another recent example is the refugee crises, where the hashtag #engangvarjegflygtning (rough translation: Once I was a refugee) has been used in relation to a social media campaign. In conclusion, Klastrup states that social media is no longer optional but needs to be strategically integrated in a meaningful way.

Sander Schwartz’ talk on “Facebook and the general Danish election” supplemented Klastrup’s talk and presented data gathered from 2011 to 2015. Schwartz started off by noting that Danish Facebook use is not declining, even through this is an often made claim. According to a recent study by Danish Radio, 62% of the Danish population use Facebook on a daily basis. This trend is confirmed when looking at how Danish politicians use social media: While in 2011 only 38 % of the candidates were active on Facebook pages, in 2015 62 % of the politicians used Facebook pages. Also, the use of Twitter accounts has risen considerably, from 15 % to 69 %. Overall, Schwartz noted a steep increase of citizen activity on Facebook. He believes that recent changes in the Facebook design have potentially led to this engagement.

Luca Rossi concluded the seminar by sharing insights from an annual data collection run by the DECIDIS research group, which will be published in the first quarter of 2016. The data shows that Facebook has fully penetrated the age group of 16 to 18 year olds Danes. This does not mean that all young Danes use Facebook intensively but that they have at least opened an account at some point. When contrasting Twitter and Facebook it can be stated that Facebook is still at the forefront, Twitter is mostly used by young Danes up to the age of 30.  A network analysis of different political hashtags used on Twitter shows that activity mostly happen around TV debates. Further, it can be stated that users typically re-tweet what they agree with, which leverages the problem of online echo chambers, in which competing ideas are typically underrepresented. In conclusion and as a summary of the seminar, it can be stated that Twitter is and will be an important medium gathering ad-hoc publics for live events as well as a (back)channel for politicians, journalists and so-called “political junkies”.


DECIDIS @Nordmedia 2015

Several researchers related to the DECIDIS research initiative have presented papers at the Nordmedia 2015 conference at the University of Copenhagen this week. Nordmedia is the big biannual conference for all Nordic media researchers, and in general this is the place to go if you want to know more about the use of digital media in the Nordic countries for mundane, civic, democratic and political purposes.

Here is what we talked about:
Christina Neumayer & Luca Rossi: “A Socio-Technical Timeline of Protest Scholarship across Online Media”

Johan Dam Farkas & Jannick Schou: ““Take Action Now and Share This”: Mapping the Micro-dynamics of Political Participation through Facebook.”

Lisbeth Klastrup: “When Facebook took it all – a Study of Social Media Use by Danish Politicians from 2005- 2015”

Jakob Linaa Jensen: “Social sharing of news – gatekeeping and opinion leadership on Twitter”

Bjarki Valtysson: “Restaging the past: Digitized cultural heritage, cross-­‐media communication and participation”

International network partners:
Anders Olof Larsson & Eli Skogerbø: “Out with the old, in with the new? Perceptions of social media by local and regional Norwegian politicians”

Kirill Filimonov, Uta Russmann & Jakob Svensson: “Picturing the Party: Political Party Uses of Instagram in the Swedish 2014 Elections.”

luca presenting
Luca Rossi presenting his and Christina Neumayer’s meta research on digital protest participation research

Politikernes brug af sociale medier i 2015 og 2011 – en første analyse

//English translation will be available soon! //

Vi har været ret stille her på DECIDIS-bloggen i løbet af valgkampen. Det skyldes dels, at vi også har haft en del eksaminer at se til (vi håber, den næste statsminister ikke udskriver valg midt i eksamensperioden), og dels at vi har haft travlt med at samle data ind. Nu har vi i DECIDIS-Election gruppen for første gang set nærmere på nogle af tendenserne i brugen af sociale medier i denne valgkamp sammenlignet med valgkampen 2011, som vi også har data på. Hvad vi præsenterer her, er work-in-progress, og vi kommer til at gå meget mere i dybden med tal og tendenser i de kommende måneder.

Umiddelbart tagner der sig nogle interessante mønstre: antallet af politikere med en Twitter-konto er steget markant, Facebook bliver stadig mere populært, og brugen af blogs lader til at have stabiliseret sig. Instagram og Snapchat er de ”nye” platforme, der er bragt i spil denne gang, men de har endnu ikke en overvældende stor tilslutning hos politikerne. Samtidig er hashtag nu for alvor blevet sat i spil på tværs af de sociale medieplatforme som led i strategiske kampagner søsat af både partier og politikere. Eksempler på disse er f.eks. Socialdemokratiets kampagne ”detdanmarkdukender” og kampagnen ”engangvarjegflygtning” igangsat af de Radikales Samira Nawa Amini. Brugen af hashtag på denne måde er ny i forhold til 2011, hvor Facebook endnu ikke havde indført hashtagget (det blev implementeret i 2013), og Instagram endnu ikke var særlig udbredt i Danmark. Det er først nu, det for alvor giver mening at bruge bestemte hashtags på tværs af platforme, og ikke alene på Twitter. Også brugen af memer – i form af sjove billeder med variabel tekst eller slogans tilføjet (herunder også ”detdanmarkdukender”) – har vundet indpas som en integreret del af både partiernes og vælgernes måde at ”tale” om politik på.

I hvad der følger, kan du få en mere detaljeret oversigt over brugen af sociale medier på de forskellige platforme, og som noget nyt, har vi også søgt at præsentere vores tal samlet for partierne.

Vi har både i 2011 og 2015 via Google, og Facebooks egen søgemaskine manuelt søgt på alle de opstillede kandidaters navne og efterfølgende noteret, hvilke politikere der bruger hvilke sociale platforme. Herudover har vi samarbejdet med Troels Runge, der generøst løbende har delt hans lister over politikere på Facebook, Twitter og Instagram med os, så vi også ad den vej har kunnet validere og krydstjekke vores fund. Vi har så vidt muligt valideret Facebook pages og profiler ved at tjekke, at links til dem rent faktisk virker. Hvad angår blogs, har vi skelnet skarpt mellem blogs, der faktisk bliver brugt som blogs (en vis grad af aktivitet, mulighed for kommentarer) og f.eks. hjemmesider, hvor forsiden som standard er blevet sat op som blog. Så hvad der følger nedenfor, er altså baseret på vores egne tal, og en så vidt muligt ensartet måde at registrere tilstedeværelsen på i henholdsvis 2011 og 2015. Disse lister er ikke endeligt valideret og der kan her på falderebet måske dukke f.eks. blogs eller Facebook profiler op, som ikke umiddelbart er synlige i almindelige søgninger.

Social medie brug i 2011
For at kunne se, hvad der har ændret sig siden 2011, vil vi først starte med at gøre status over, hvordan social mediebrugen så ud for 4 år siden. I 2011 registrerede vi 83 blogs (mod 249 mere eller mindre aktive blogs anvendt i 2007), 107 politikere havde en Twitter-profil, 297 kandidater havde en Facebook-side (”page”) og 475 havde en Facebook-profil (med nogle gengangere, der havde begge dele). Det svarer til at ca. 38% af de opstillede kandidater (804 opstillede i alt) havde en Facebook-side, 59% havde en Facebook-profil, 10% af dem havde en blog og knap 15% havde en Twitter-profil. Så allerede i 2011 var det på social medie-fronten klart Facebook, der var det mest populære medie. Dengang så vi ikke på Instagram, men registrerede hvad angår brugen af mere visuelt orienterede medieplatforme, at 28 politikere havde en Flickr-profil og 67 politikere en YouTube-profil, altså en ret lille gruppe. Det er også værd at bemærke, at 325 af kandidaterne havde deres egen hjemmeside, og 515 kandidater havde en profil på et partisite. Så hvad nogen kalder web 1.0-kommunikation til vælgerne havde, og har, også stadig en stor plads online. Ligesom vi kunne notere, at der dengang var et flertal af kandidater, der foretrak at kommunikere med vælgerne via de mere private profiler (hvor man max. kunne have 5000 venner), fremfor de mere professionaliserede Facebook-sider (hvor man kan have langt mere end 5000 følgere).

Optæller man kandidaternes tilstedeværelse under partiparaplyen, kan man nedenfor se en fordeling af hvordan brugen af web- og sociale platforme fordelte sig.

2011 party graph some
Figur 1. Kandidaternes brug af sociale medier under folketingsvalgkampen 2011, fordelt på partier. (Klik på billedet for fuld størrelse)

Her kan man se, at der er en vis forskel på hvor partiernes kandidater valgte at være til stede. De Radikale (38%) og Venstre (32%) havde således markant flere politikere med en Twitter-profil end de andre partier. Blandt socialdemokraterne havde hele 74% en Facebook-side, men kun 32% en Facebook-profil. Det modsatte gjorde sig gældende for de Radikale, de Konservative og Venstre, hvor markante flere politikere havde en profil, fremfor en side (eller begge dele).

Social medie brug i 2015 – tentative tal
I år ser mønstret noget anderledes ud. Vi har på nuværende tidspunkt 799 politikere registeret på vores kandidatliste baseret på den officielle opstillingsliste (med forbehold for sidste øjebliks ændringer), og vi forventer ikke de store ændringer i antallet. Der kan dog være nogle af kandidaterne, hvis tilstedeværelse vi ikke har fanget, og først fanger i det allersidste eftertjek – derfor skal de følgende tal tages med et vist forbehold, da de kan afvige med nogle procentpoint. Vi mener dog stadig, at tendenserne er klare.
Lad os starte med bloggen, som er den sociale platform, der er blevet brugt af politikerne længst tid (siden 2005). Her er der sket en spændende udvikling, nemlig at der er ca. 83 politikere, der aktivt blogger i år. En del af dem på nyhedsmediernes hjemmesider, som f.eks. Politiken eller Politiko – eller på det alternative medie, Modkraft. Det er faktisk 1 politiker mere end i 2011, hvilket kunne tyde på, at bloggen som form måske har fundet et mere stabilt leje, efter den som social platform toppede i 2007, hvor hele 247 politikere prøvede kræfter med genren.

Også ved dette valg, er det tydeligvis Facebook, der er den mest populære platform. På Facebook har omkring 62% af politikerne en aktiv Facebook-side, og omkring 49% en tilgængelig Facebook-profil. Kun ca. 9% af politikerne er slet ikke til stede på Facebook*. Her kan vi se et tilsyneladende interessant mønster tegne sig: der er faktisk færre kandidater, der i forhold til sidste valg har en umiddelbar tilgængelig profil. Til gengæld er der, ikke overraskende, næsten 200 flere kandidater, der nu har en aktiv offentlig Facebook-side.

Der hvor den største ændring er sket, er på Twitter- fronten. Her er der nu ca. 68% af de opstillede kandidater, der har oprettet en Twitter-profil. Det er en markant stigning, fra de 15% der havde bevæget sig ind på Twitter i 2011. Samtidig er antallet af danske brugere på Twitter i samme periode interessant nok ikke steget i samme takt. Faktisk viser den seneste rapport fra DR Medieforskning, at kun ca. 4% af danskerne bruger Twitter aktivt på daglig basis.

Vi har registreret ca. 94 kandidater med en Instagram-profil. Det svarer til 12% af kandidaterne. Dette tal er baseret på en grovsortering af profilerne, hvor de profiler, der ikke har nogen opslag, eller ikke har været aktive i 2015 er sorteret fra (herunder f.eks. Lars Løkke Rasmussen). Her har vi ikke mulighed for at sammenligne med 2011, og vi har brug for at se nærmere på indholdskategorierne, men det er vores umiddelbare indtryk, at denne gruppe består af en blanding af politikere, der har haft en profil et stykke tid, og nogle der op til eller i forbindelse med valgkampen, vælger at teste platformen og dens muligheder ud. Vi har fulgt en udvalgt gruppe af politikere, der bruger Instagram, og vores observationer tyder på, at denne platform især bliver brugt til at dokumentere valgkampagne-aktiviteter. Ud over at dokumentere hvor politikerne har været henne, dækker disse aktiviteter for eksempel også billeder af kampagneteamet, og billeder af profilejeren med ”kendispolitikere” fra eget parti. Herudover er Instagram blandt andet blevet brugt til at referere til politikerens optræden i andre medier (særligt TV), samt til at opfordre til økonomisk støtte.

Endeligt kan vi præsentere en første graf, der illustrerer fordelingen af kandidaternes social medie aktivitet fordelt på partier i 2015 (igen, med forbehold for mindre ændringer i tallene)

2015 party some graph
Figur 2. Kandidaternes brug af sociale medier under folketingsvalgkampen 2015, fordelt på partier. (Klik på billedet for fuld størrelse)

Som man kan se her, er helt traditionelle hjemmesider (den blå søjle ”web”) stadig dem, som flest kandidater anvender. Men de sociale medier er, som det også fremgår ovenover, i sammenligning med 2011 generelt blevet taget i brug af rigtig mange politikere på tværs af partier i denne valgkamp.

Nu står vi så foran en nærmere analyse og validering af vores tal – og i forbindelse hermed, vil vi blandt andet undersøge om det analytisk kan give mening at opdele de danske politikere i tre kategorier af social medie brugere: de inklusive, der så vidt muligt under en valgkamp er tilstede på alle kendte social medie platforme, de selektive der bevidst vælger at være tilstede på få social medie platforme, og de eksklusive, der af forskellige grunde vælger ikke at bruge de sociale medier (f.eks. af ideologiske eller ressourcemæssige grunde). Vi kommer også til at se nærmere på forskelle og ligheder i partiernes brug af sociale medier, på brugen af memer i valgkampen, vi kommer til at lave sociale netværksanalyser af aktiviteten på Twitter, og vi skal arbejde med indholdskodning af politikernes indlæg på Facebook. Der er masser at tage fat på, og vi glæder os rigtigt meget.

Hav en god valgdag!

* Andre målinger har vist et endnu lavere tal for politikere, der ikke er på Facebook. Vi har manuelt tjekket links igennem fra andre lister hvis ikke de virker, har vi valgt at slette dem.

Social media and the public sphere – virtual coffee shops or siloization?

Jakob Linaa Jensen visits DECIDIS:          Jakob_Linaa_Jensen

The event takes place MAY 28 2015 from 13-15 in room 2A08

All are welcome but please send an email to

 About the presentation:

The potentials for involvement, enlightenment and horisontal dialogue have increased. Further, Facebook has turned into a ”one stop public” mixing mundane updates with serious political debates. But, Facebook is a filtered public, where news are sorted based on the likes and shares of acquaintances. Such filters reduce complexities but also add to the risk of the creation of segregated public spheres for the ”like-minded”, with limited political and societal impact.

Based on examples from the Arab spring, European election campaigns and Danish political Facebook groups, I demonstrate that although citizens might feel emotionally involved and politically empowered by discussing politics via social network sites, the wider political consequences are limited. The debates only to a limited extent affect overall political decision-making and the mobilization is often short-lived. Social media seem best suited for mobilization around single issues or facilitation of online protests rather than creating lasting involvement and democratic commitment.

About Jakob Linaa Jensen:

Jakob Linaa Jensen, Ph.D. is head of research for social media, Danish School of Media and Journalism. Before that, he was an associate professor of media studies at Aarhus University for nine years. His research interests includes social media and political participation, online behavior and identity, news and social media and theoretical aspects of the relationship between individuals and society. He has published four books, two international anthologies and more than 30 peer-reviewed articles on his various research topics.


On the 24th of April DECIDIS was hosting a public event on social media activism in elections.

The event was started by Stewart Kirkpatrick, Digital Manager of the “Yes Scotland” campaign who among other things talked about how to use infographics as a way of viral communication.

Following that, the Greek Twitter voice Jaquou Utopie took the stage telling about how social media activism in Greece emerged as a response to traditional media and also about how it is to tweet under a pseudonym.

The event was rounded up with a panel debate, which also included Lisbeth Klastrup from ITU and Jakob Linaa Jensen from DMJX. The debate included questions from the audience and among the discussed subjects were the use of social media as a mean to engage youth in elections.

Link to Storify of the event

DECIDIS event: Election Activism on Social Media

Join us on the 24th of April to an interesting public event about the use of social media in an election and referendum context.

What are the experiences of using social media to inform about, impact and discuss elections and important referendums in European countries? And in that context: what role do and should social media play in a democratic society?

Speakers include Stewart Kirkpatrick, digital manager of the “Yes Scotland” campaign and Jaquou Utopie a critical political voice in the Greek Twitter sphere.

The talks will be followed by an open panel debate with the invited speakers and social media researchers Jakob Linaa Jensen (DMJX) and Lisbeth Klastrup (ITU).

Participation is free and open for all, but please sign up by sending a short mail with name and affiliation to: 
with “DECIDIS election event April” as the subject line.

Date and time: April 24th 2015 | 13.00 – 15.30
Location: The IT University of Copenhagen
Auditorium 2 (entrance from atrium, ground floor)


This Wednesday afternoon the results from a DECIDIS project “The media competent citizen and media literacy in a Danish Context” were presented to a full auditorium at the IT University of Copenhagen.

If you were not attending the conference or would like to watch it again you can access the recording of the live stream here (mostly in danish).

Watch among other things:

Gitte Bang Stald present the initial findings of the media literacy research in a Danish context conducted by her, Morten Hjelholt and Laura Høvsgaard Nielsen

A keynote about Research and assessment on media literacy in the UK by Alison Preston, leader of Ofcom’s Media Literacy Research.

A panel debate between:
Anne Mette Thorhauge, Chairman, Medierådet for Børn og Unge
Gitte Rabøl, Media Director, DR
Trine Nielsen, Director of business development, Berlingske Media
Bjarne Hastrup, Chairman, Ældresagen
Kasper Koed, IT didactic consultant, Center for Undervisningsmidler, UCC
Gitte Bang Stald, Associate Professor, IT University of Copenhagen