Weapon of the Weak? The Social Media Landscape of Interest Groups

A, van der Graaf, Simon Otjes, A. Rasmussen

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

26 Citaten (Scopus)
221 Downloads (Pure)


Social media have the potential to offset existing inequalities in representation among interest groups and act as a ‘weapon of the weak’ by providing a technological infrastructure that allows even groups with limited resources to create content and interact across the globe. We expand on the sparse existing literature on interest groups and social media in a quantitative, structural analysis of both the range and volume of social media use examining a data set of groups active in European Union lobbying. Despite the positive expectations, we find limited evidence that social media have been able to reinvigorate democratic processes by changing inequalities in the landscape of political representation among interest groups. The level of resources held by the interest groups acts as the single most consistent predictor of both the range and volume of their social media use. Interest groups representing citizen and worker interests do play a leading role in explaining the volume of social media use, but the landscape is dominated by large interest groups with an international scope rather than by small, national ones. Moreover, firms also use a broad range of different social media platforms even if they lose ground to traditional membership groups when the actual volume of Twitter and Facebook use is assessed.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)120-135
Aantal pagina's16
TijdschriftEuropean Journal of Communication
Nummer van het tijdschrift2
StatusPublished - 29-okt-2015

Citeer dit