New journal article in Social Science Computer Review with Ankit Kariryaa, Simon Rundé, Hendrik Heuer, and Johannes Schöning (all computer scientists from University of Bremen). In The role of flag emoji in online political communication we examine usage patterns of flag emoji in tweets published by MPs in Germany and the United States. Here is our abstract:
Abstract: Flags are important national symbols that have transcended into the digital world with inclusion in the Unicode character set. Despite their significance, there is little information about their role in online communication. This article examines the role of flag emoji in political communication online by analyzing 640,676 tweets by the most important political parties and Members of Parliament in Germany and the United States. We find that national flags are frequently used in political communication and are mostly used in-line with political ideology. As off-line, flag emoji usage in online communication is associated with external events of national importance. This association is stronger in the United States than in Germany. The results also reveal that the presence of the national flag emoji is associated with significantly higher engagement in Germany irrespective of party, whereas it is associated with slightly higher engagement for politicians of the Republican party and slightly lower engagement for Democrats in the United States. Implications of the results and future research directions are discussed.
Ankit Kariryaa, Simon Rundé, Hendrik Heuer, Andreas Jungherr, and Johannes Schöning. 2020. The role of flag emoji in online political communication. Social Science Computer Review. doi: 10.1177/0894439320909085 (Online First).