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#Zuma Must Fall This February: Homophily on the Echo-Chambers of Political Leaders’ Twitter Accounts

  • Rofhiwa F. MukhudwanaEmail author
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Abstract

This chapter explores the challenges caused by political polarisation (homophily) and populism propelled by the propensity to create one’s own echo-chamber of like-mindedness in social media. The research question guiding this study is: To what extent do the Twitter accounts of selected political leaders in South Africa evidence the presence of echo-chambers, homophily and populism during a political crisis such as #ZumaMustFall and what is the relationship between these three concepts? The finding is that albeit there is homophily as politicians attempt to create their own echo-chambers, Twitter brings forth diversity as the public (tweeps) permeates political echo-chambers searching for resonate political opinions. Furthermore, the study found a direct link between populism and homophily as well as a link between politicians’ personalities and their political communication styles on Twitter. I argue, therefore, that echo-chambers are not necessarily a negative political challenge in the second generation of digital democracy as they are an alternative form of political deliberation that is unique from the singular argumentative public sphere to the fragmentation of many agreeable public spheres, which taken together may create informed and rational debates.

Keywords

Political polarisation Homophily Echo-chambers Populism Political communication styles Social media 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication ScienceUniversity of South AfricaPretoriaSouth Africa

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