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Abstract

Political interest and voter turnout is in steady decline. In an attempt to renew interest for political matters, political parties and governments have attempted to create new digital meeting places, with the hope that social media can contribute to renew the public sphere and thereby increase political awareness in the population. Communicating in new media demands adaption to the culture of the new medium, and the networked nature of the Internet poses challenges to old ways of thinking as we can no longer talk about one public sphere but rather a networked public sphere consisting of a multitude of discussion spaces. In this article, we contribute to the understanding of the networked public sphere and online political communication through a case study of MyLaborParty.no, a social network run by a Norwegian political party. Our findings indicate that political parties can create a thriving part of the networked public sphere, as long as they invite opposing voices to the discussion, communicate using the genres which facilitate discussion and have users or moderators who help spread ideas between discussion spaces.

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