Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Politische Soziologie und Sozialpolitik

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Institut für Sozialwissen­schaften | Politische Soziologie und Sozialpolitik | Andreas Schäfer: Digital heuristics. How parties strategize political communication in hybrid media environments

Andreas Schäfer: Digital heuristics. How parties strategize political communication in hybrid media environments



Erschienen in: New Media & Society

https://doi.org/10.1177/14614448211012101


This article proposes the concept of digital heuristics to model and explain political communication strategies in the complex environment of hybrid media systems. Insights from recent psychological and political research on heuristic decision-making are combined with literature on the current structural context and features of online communication in order to make the case for a heuristics-oriented approach to political communication strategies. I argue that despite the growing importance of data analytics, in increasingly dynamic and uncertain communication environments, political actors mainly design their strategies according to simple rules (heuristics) that rely on selective information (as well as trial and error) rather than to complex models. Analyzing interviews with communication managers from major political parties in Germany and the United Kingdom, I identify and conceptualize two types of digital heuristics in use: hybridity-based and algorithm-based. The article concludes with considerations for a future research agenda using the concept of digital heuristics.