Department of Informatics and Media

Pioneering study on use of Instagram in political campaigning


Kirill Filimonov and Jakob Svensson got published in the new issue of Social Media + Society with an article on the use of Instagram by seven Swedish political parties during the 2014 election campaign.

The paper, co-authored by Professor Uta Russmann from FH Wien University of Applied Sciences, is the first to explore the use of Instagram in political communication.

The researchers come to conclusion that the use of Instagram was very limited. The platform was primarily used as a tool for broadcasting campaign messages. Instagram postings reinforced a personalized character of the election campaign, with a strong presence of top politicians in the postings.

Besides, the parties appeared to approach Instragram as a virtual billboard, and reaction from the followers was neither expected nor particularly attended to. The findings also suggest that that Instagram was first and foremost a platform for interaction among party members, rather than a tool for mobilizing different groups of voters.

The article is available in open access: Picturing the Party: Instagram and Party Campaigning in the 2014 Swedish Elections

Kirill Filimonov is a doctoral student at the Department of Informatics and Media, Uppsala University.

Jakob Svensson is associate professor in media and communication studies at the Department of Informatics and Media, Uppsala University.