Twitter as a clique: journalists' patterns of Twitter use in Israel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Approximately 75% of journalists in Western society maintain a Twitter account. This significant presence underscores Twitter's impact on the public agenda. The purpose of this paper is to gain an understanding of journalists' practices on Twitter, from the perspective of journalists in Israel, and explore whether journalists use Twitter's potential as a pluralistic platform of expression. Design/methodology/approach: The authors conducted in-depth interviews with leading journalists working on traditional media and those active on Twitter in Israel. Findings: Although Twitter is an open, inclusive platform for opinion exchange, in which journalists have a sense of unfettered freedom of expression, findings indicate that in Israel, Twitter effectively functions as an echo chamber used by a clique of journalists and politicians in a manner than reifies the hegemonic system. The majority of the public do not use Twitter to draw attention to contentious issues, and journalists almost exclusively continue to set and control the agenda on this platform. As a result, journalists become even more disconnected from society. Therefore, Twitter has been found to be a complementary platform to traditional media that helps to preserve the existing social order. Social implications: This paper offers not only a theoretical contribution but also social relevance, as the topics and issues discussed in the paper might concern citizens and policymakers. This paper contributes to the debate on freedom of the press, which is an important principle of pluralism and democracy. This study illustrates that the general public's opinions remain unheard-of on Twitter. Therefore, despite its potential to express a variety of opinions and voices, Twitter does not undermine the existing social order, but it is one of the cultural frameworks that help preserve the existing social order and reinforce it through uniform conformity thinking. Originality/value: The novelty of this research lies in its identification and analysis of the characteristics of the Twitter scene, its meanings and its implications from the perspective of journalists. In addition, this research investigates the relationships forged in the Twitter space between journalists and politicians and among journalists themselves. Peer review: The peer review history for this article is available at: https://publons.com/publon/10.1108/OIR-07-2020-0324

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-58
Number of pages19
JournalOnline Information Review
Volume46
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 25 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Journalism
  • Media
  • News producer
  • Social media
  • Twitter

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