Why mobilize support online? The paradox of party behaviour online
Type of work: Article (academic)
Categories:e-Politics | Politics and Political Science | Social Media & Social Software
The internet offers opportunities for political mobilization that parties are underexploiting. Drawing on the rational choice approach to party behaviour, this paper builds an argument for why this is the case. I argue that if parties are not using new media to mobilize support, it is because the benefits of using it are uncertain while there are very certain costs – communicational and organizational – involved in the decision. I also argue that party characteristics shape incentives to use the internet for political mobilization and hence help to account for observed differences in party behaviour online. Using evidence from parties in Spain and Catalonia, the study finds that parties that are large, in opposition, non-programmatic, and non-bureaucratic tend to have greater incentives to use the internet for political mobilization, both because they expect to get the largest benefits and to pay the minimum costs from online mobilization.