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Kapidzic, Sanja; Neuberger, Christoph; Stieglitz, Stefan and Mirbabaie, Milad (2019): Interaction and Influence on Twitter. Comparing the discourse relationships between user types on five topics. In: Digital Journalism, Vol. 7, No. 2: pp. 251-272

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The internet and social media have led to a change in the structure of the public sphere in comparison to traditional mass media. On the internet, private actors have the possibility to participate in public discourse and bypass news media to directly interact with each other as well as with public actors such as political representatives. The questions of the type of interaction, the degree of influence, and possible topic-specific differences, however, remain unclear. We conducted a content analysis of the user types, forms of interaction, and practices of retweeting and linking in 17,629 tweets on five topics and found topic-specific differences in the interaction between news media, public actors, and private actors. Overall, news media still hold an important role in information flow and are linked to and retweeted most often by all user types. However, in crisis situations, the messages of private actors also find uptake.

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